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The Left-handed Hummingbird (New Doctor Who Adventures) Mass Market Paperback – 2 Dec 1993

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Dr Who; Paperback First edition (2 Dec. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0426204042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0426204046
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 554,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


A story featuring the further adventures of the time traveller Dr Who, as he journeys through time and space with a variety of companions.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By S Bruce TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Feb. 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In my opinion the two best writers of Doctor Who novels are Kate Orman and Lance Parkin, in a close race and beating all the others by a country mile.

This is Orman's first Who novel, and although it's not her best (I'd say that would be "The Year Of Intelligent Tigers"), she certainly hits the ground running. Contending with a developing story arc surrounding Ace's gradual transformation from the innocent(-ish) young girl seen in the TV series, it's an ambitious attempt to really take advantage of the time travel aspects, from the Aztecs to the Titanic to John Lennon. Perhaps it tries to take on a little too much but generally it's very solid. It's rich, atmospheric, yet easy to follow.

With the story arcs of the companions, meeting characters out-of-sequence, and a particularly dark, mysterious, isolated Doctor figure, there's a lot that's quite reminiscent of some sorts of the new TV series.

Definitely one of the better novels in the Virgin New Adventures series.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Anyone who hates the New Adventures, will probably find everything they dislike about them personified here in. A dark and moody Doctor? Check. Sex and violence? Check. Large amounts of emotional and physical baggage dumped on the characters? Check. The Nietzsche quote about looking into the abyss? Yep. But if you don't hold that opinion then you will want to seek this out because it is one of the best novels in the series. If it holds many of the clichés you come to expect from the series, then it is only because they were so well done here.

This is Kate Orman's first novel and in truth it does feel like one, with a freewheeling prose style and a continued shift of location, any one of which has the potential to fill out a whole book (John Lennon's assassination, the sinking of the Titanic etc) and as several sites have commented you almost get the feeling she was worried they wouldn't let write another. But all the settings are all well realised, especially the Aztec scenes and the plot builds throughout the course of the book with the skill of someone writing their tenth book not their first. As to the suffering Orman puts the regulars through (especially the Doctor); it all has real impact without becoming grindingly miserable for the reader and is one of the best symbolic representations of the Seventh Doctor's manipulative nature and the cost it has on his friends and himself (particularly his decision to take hallucinogenic drugs as a means to fight the Aztec god Huitzilin). The only negative I have is the strange pose the Doctor is striking on the cover.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Oh dear, this is a strange mishmash - part historical appreciation of the demise of the Aztec civilisation, part half-hearted attempt to show the Doctor's vulnerability. There are some intriguingly whimsical moments but they are too few and far-between to sustain interest. Kate Orman obviously knows her 'Who' but the novel is too fractured and downright bizarre: The weird blueness that pervades throughout is never really explained, the Aztec history is accurately realised but too complicated to follow coherently and the Doctor's companions are again underused. This is not the worst of the New Adventures but has certainly been the hardest to read so far.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x94b0015c) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94c5bdc8) out of 5 stars This is the most compelling Dr Who book I've ever read. 1 Jan. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If, like myself, you find yourself wishing for something more adult in the line based on the British SF TV series Dr Who, this is the book for you. Definitely not for the kiddies, it places the Doctor in very real peril for his life against an ancient Aztec God wanting to return to 'the good life.' The companions, Bernice and Ace, are also aboard as this titanic struggle between good and evil rages out of control and nearly overwhelms everyone, including the Doctor. This book is tough and gritty and some parts are not for the squeamish. But the scenes of Aztec history, John Lennon's murder and the Titanic sinking are accurate and used as skillful backdrops to the ongoing battle. A ripping good read - and one that you'll believe the Doctor won't survive.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Jason A. Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
And a happy Tenth Anniversary to "The Left-Handed Hummingbird", which was released a decade ago this month and made a big splash on the Internet. Rightfully so.
I picked up "Hummer" again for the first time in years and years, after a recent viewing of "The Aztecs" -- a 1964 "Doctor Who" adventure which is partly the inspiration for Kate Orman's debut novel. Indeed, the parts of "Hummer" which return the 7th Doctor (and Ace) to 15th century Mexico display a marvelous combination of action and historical detail. The segment begins with the Doctor attracting attention to himself by juggling in the marketplace... and ends with a barrage of corpses. While "The Aztecs" is a prime representative example of early "Doctor Who" (and has a relatively low body count), "Hummer" was "Doctor Who' at its best 30 years later, and the high body count is suited to the novels of its day.
At the outset of her professional writing career, Orman established a rhythmic routine, introducing with both the Doctor and the villain (Huitzilin, the living Aztec god of war) in the very first scene. After a series of dramatic psychic attacks, the story steps back for some well-written exposition. This alternating pace escalates over the rest of the novel. After the Aztecs are left behind, the TARDIS travels to hippie London in late 1968, an overly-dirty New York City in December 1980, and finally, to the last hours of the Titanic.
Also pioneered here in the books is the old-time fanfic concept of "hurt/comfort", in which the lead character is alternately brutalized and cuddled. Here, Ace, by turns, stabs the Doctor in the chest, and gives him a back massage. I can't say this technique was well-used -- it would be taken to rather silly extremes a few books down the road -- but it works in its initial outing.
Another welcome feature in the prose is the author's own personal interests -- making this a rare example of a "Doctor Who" story that actually inhabits its 1993 setting. Characters watch reruns of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" -- in Spanish. There's more use of the Beatles than "Doctor Who" had seen before, or would see since. There's a strong gun-control argument made throughout, including a pointed barb at Ronald Reagan. There are continuity references to other "Doctor Who" TV stories ("Death to the Daleks", "The Pirate Planet") which aren't integral to understanding the book, but provide an extra frisson if you remember them.
And then there is, of course, the research. In another neat narrative trick, the Doctor and Ace's journey to Mexico is intercut with scenes of the Doctor's other companion, Professor Summerfield, sitting in a library researching Aztec culture. The library segments actually increase the tension in the companion historical scenes. This is not an easy trick to pull off. Similarly, the Titanic sequence is intercut with authentic scenes set in the Titanic's telegraph room. The Doctor carries on board with him a typed list of the names of those who survived the disaster -- a wonderfully human touch.
"The Left-Handed Hummingbird", with all of the above, is a comparatively short 264 pages. There's horrific violence and great small moments of humanity. The only "dip" in the book's comes after the first 100 pages, with the introduction of a Dooctor-hating UNIT lieutenant, interruping the frenetic Aztec segment and leading into the slightly less interesting London sequence.
However, this is a book told with real passion for the historical and the temporal. In spite of the body count, it's got a boatload (sorry) of images to remember. Feathers growing out of the possessed Doctor's hair. The child's doll that improbably survived the Titanic's sinking. And the stunningly well-placed quote from "Hotel California".
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95237e10) out of 5 stars The One With The Funny Title And The Silly Cover 14 Oct. 2002
By Andrew McCaffrey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
THE LEFT-HANDED HUMMINGBIRD is one of the few Doctor Who books that I've read multiple times. It's one of my favorites and never disappoints. It feels different from a lot of the books surround it in the series, and given the differing styles of the NA authors, that is saying quite a bit.
"Gritty", "realistic" and "intense" are the words that come to mind first when thinking about this book. The characters are certainly put through hell, but it never feels gratuitous or unnecessary. Their suffering isn't approached one-dimensionally, as the ordeals that our friends are put through actually reveal a lot about how their characters work. It's a bit of a cliché to say so, but we learn about fictional characters when we see them put through the wringer. It's not so much that we see people here who are scared, but that their fear is portrayed in a realistic way. There is no false bravado or boring heroism. When people stand up against the odds, it actually means something.
The story is relatively fast-moving. I was amazed at how much had happened before I had even got to page fifty. The plot is perhaps a little more complicated than it really needs to be, but I found that to be enjoyable, so I can't complain too much. It all fits together logically and satisfactorily. No cheap short cuts are taken, so despite the different timelines and detailed plot strands, everything fits together amazingly well.
There's not too much to complain about here. A few of the Beatles jokes get a little silly. Maybe the plot jumps about a bit too quickly at the end. Though when these are the biggest problems in a book you know you're reading a winner. If you never got around to reading this one on its initial publication, then you missed out on something special. This one's a keeper.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94fe7378) out of 5 stars Time travel made complex (in a good way) 29 July 2001
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Combining a series of well-known events (the Aztec empire, the sinking of the Titanic, and the assassination of John Lennon) with an underlying strange force that is influencing matters across time, this story advances the current story arc in an unexpected manner...
This is the first novel by Kate Orman, who is one of the best of the Who authors, continues the "Alternate Universe" arc (started with 'Blood Heat' and 'The Dimension Riders' and continuing with 'Conundrum' and 'No Future'). And what a debut! A vital utilisation of the time travel concept underlying the series, a fairly complex plot that slowly unravels as the story continues.
One of Ms Orman's strong points is characterisation, and this is on display herein. However, she is not yet at the height of her writing powers in this book, good though it is. You should give this, and any other books by the same author, a thorough read.
HASH(0x951201c8) out of 5 stars A striking, stunning book, with a Titanic connection 29 April 1998
By Paul M. W. Green - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Not so much a science fiction book as a tour through history, stopping at the most amazing, appalling points, including Aztec politics and the sinking of the Titanic.
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