This is a story about Winter.
The Blue Angel opens with a narration from a man called the Doctor, a man of tenuous sanity living in a large blue house with his two tenants, Fitz and Compassion. The man called the Doctor describes his life—how he sees a doctor for his "episodes", how he always seems to be landlord to various people who stay with him for brief or long periods, how the garden in the backyard has been damaged by sudden onslaught of winter.
Three women, Maddy, Nesta and Big Sue, as well as Maddy's son Ian, all pile into Maddy's Morris Minor and prepare for a day long shopping trip, somewhat worried about the dangers of driving in the snow. Maddy's son, who wishes to be referred to as Icarus, came to her one day, an orphan, and asked to be adopted. The other women think he's a strange and not necessarily trustworthy boy, but Maddy dotes on him.
The Doctor, Fitz and Compassion arrive on a Federation starship, the Nepotist. Compassion doesn't seem to be adjusting well to TARDIS life, and she and the Doctor are having a difficult time finding common ground in just about anything. Fitz doesn't particularly care one way or the other yet, and for the most part is simply impressed by the Nepotist's more glitzy Sci-Fi decor. He probably appreciates it being more "Spock".
Tropes present in The Blue Angel include:
- Alternate Reality Episode: The Obverse, where the Doctor is a mentally ill human with two hearts who has dreams about the events in the main universe, and his companions are his tenants.
- Alternate Universe: The Obverse is implied to be one. No real explanation is given until The Ancestor Cell, but Iris tells the Doctor she comes from the Obverse, putting her status as a Time Lady in some doubt. Then again, she could just be lying through her teeth.
- Ambiguously Gay: Obverse!Doctor. He's something of a Supreme Chef, and certainly a very dedicated cook (he panics about having overcooked the potatoes). He's apparently interested in gardening and interior decorating, and listens to Bette Davis soundtracks. Freud might find the fact that he's a Momma's Boy to be rather significant. (A screenplay version which circulates online added some additional, and significantly more blatant, hints.) Most interestingly, in the parts taking place in the normal continuity, he's referred to as a "fussy old confirmed bachelor", which is basically a euphemistic way of saying Camp Gay.
- And Now For Something Completely Different: The book itself.
- Bi the Way: Fitz. Not that anyone is surprised.He was the one who was raving mad. He was in the midst of the ridiculous danger, horse-riding down a mountainside, probably about to die, and in the final few minutes of his life, what was passing through his mind? Not the greatest, most fulfilling moments of his life—but a consideration of his chances of getting laid by Iris... and even of getting laid by the Doctor. What was it about Time Lords?
- Bizarre Human Biology: The Obverse Doctor is actually human, though with some interesting birth defects. He was born with two hearts (and no navel), and the result is that he's physically frail, causing a lot of worry for his mother. Yes, mother. She's a mermaid.
- Brainy Baby: It's mentioned that among other abnormalities, the Obverse Doctor could speak as a newborn.
- Bury Your Gays: Garrett, the satirical Spock knockoff, dies, and Blandish the faux-Kirk admits they'd been lovers for a long time. Blandish's storyline ends in a Bolivian Army Ending, so he's likely to end up dead too.
- End-of-Series Awareness: The Doctor experiences thinly disguised existential angst about the fact it's actually a bit late for that and the series is already over.
- Fictional Document: There's one which is... significant for some reason.
- "Friends" Rent Control: It's not clear how the Doctor, Fitz, and Compassion afford the house they live in in the Obverse. The Doctor never mentions himself or either of his tenants having jobs, and the house seems to be fairly big.
- Funbag Airbag: Narrowly avoided by the Obverse Doctor, who almost jams his nose into someone's bosom while walking up stairs. Too bad he's Ambiguously Gay and probably didn't enjoy it.
- Gainax Ending/Trippy Finale Syndrome: The title finally makes sense at the end. No, scratch that, nothing makes sense at the end, aside from that it may just be the Obverse Doctor hallucinating.
- It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context: Belinda morphs into a giant squid. It's never really explained why.
- Jewish Mother: Obverse!Doctor's mother comes across this way, between the Eastern European accent and the nosiness and worrying.
- Lady Drunk: Obverse!Doctor's mother, again.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The Blue Angel has the Doctor start complaining about the Series Hiatus. In-story, his concern is that, being lost in some tunnels, he's afraid his story is over, but it spills over into a Meta Guy-type ramble about stories. The story contains three plotlines; one deals with an alternate Doctor who's an insane human. He frequently refers to his "episodes", which are in fact psychotic episodes, the content of which is quite a bit like episodes of the TV series. The whole book is just very, very meta.
- Magic Realism: The Doctor's mum is a mermaid, so she's confined to a wheelchair and he has to mow her lawn for her. His two hearts are just a strange birth defect which she worries about. Almost all the weirdness takes place Through the Eyes of Madness. Fitz is theoretically sane, but has a conversation with a talking dog, but maybe he's just extremely drunk.
- Magical Seventh Son: The Obverse Doctor, apparently.
- The Mentally Ill: Obverse!Doctor is portrayed this way. He sees a therapist who sounds suspiciously like Jon Pertwee and readily acknowledges that he isn't always lucid. It's implied that all of the adventures the Doctor has had in the normal universe manifest as the Obverse Doctor's delusions.
- Meta Guy: The Doctor becomes this for a whole chapter that starts off with a frustrated mental rant about being stuck in some extra-dimensional tubes, and ends up an insistence that his story isn't over, and that he should have the chance to tell it. Listen up, Michael Grade.
- Mind Screw
- Momma's Boy: The Obverse Doctor.
- Narrative Profanity Filter: The Doctor is said to have "swore profusely" at one point.
- Parody Episode: The Nepotist and its crew are a direct and hilarious parody of Star Trek—complete with Kirk/Spock reference!
- Postmodernism: Note, for example, Fitz's conversation with Canine, the whole Star Trek pastiche, the discussion questions at the end...
- Talking Animal: Canine. You could say that maybe Fitz is just hallucinating, but in that case, Fitz's hallucination of Canine talking to him would tell you that that doesn't make it any less real.
- Through the Eyes of Madness: The Blue Angel is a less-disturbing variant than most: the Alternate Universe human Doctor has already been diagnosed as mentally ill, generally doesn't take his delusions too seriously, and generally stays on his meds, so it seems that he's unlikely to become too terribly confused. However, it does render the story very confusing, especially as some of the things he has delusions of certainly seem to be actually happening in one of the story's other plotlines, and the reader really can't tell if the story contains Magical Realism or the Doctor simply hallucinates that his mother is a mermaid, one of his friends has a talking dog which tells his other friend that all realities and stories are equally real, and other strange things. It also creates the impression that perhaps the TV series is basically All Just a Dream — the Doctor just has delusions about Daleks and Cybermen and weird phallic monsters made of cellophane and such.