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Doctor Who: The Left-Handed Hummingbird

(Virgin New Adventures #21)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  258 ratings  ·  20 reviews
He took up a firing stance, holding the thirty-eight out in front of him. ‘Mr Lennon?’ he said.

1968: Cristian Alvarez meets the Doctor in London.
1978: The great temple of the Aztecs is discovered in Mexico.
1980: John Lennon is murdered in New York.
1994: A gunman runs amok in Mexico City.

          Each time, Cristian is there. Each time, he experiences the Blue, a traumatic
Paperback, 1st, 264 pages
Published December 12th 1993 by Virgin Publishing (first published December 2nd 1993)
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  258 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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James Barnard
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a re-read for me. I first read the book in November 1994 when I was 13. I can't really remember what I made of it, which is probably just as well because it is definitely not a book for teenagers.

"Too Broad and Too Deep for the Small Screen" was the original tagline of the New Doctor Who Adventures. People laughed at this because the first batch of novels didn't really live up to those ideals, so Virgin dropped it. It's a shame because, of all the 61 books they published as part of the r
Drew Perron
Jul 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
Kate Orman starts off strong in her first Doctor Who novel, consciously pushing the boundaries of what the series could be in 1993 in fascinating ways.

In many ways, the book is a sequel to The Aztecs, a First Doctor serial about how even good intentions can go astray when backed by imperialist assumptions, and how one shouldn't assume one actually understands another culture just because you've read a textbook about them. I'm not quite sure this story quite gets the point of that one, being very
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Whovians
Shelves: doctor-who
A startlingly good book considering how horrible this series has been so far. Having the Doctor tripping on LSD is definitely new, so props for that, I guess. It was handled well as a plot device. The tidbits of Aztec history were nice too. I remember some of that stuff from a history project in High School, though obviously sans-aliens.

I really liked the way the twisted time-line was handled. Excellent job of exploiting the (rather important) time machine for once. I also enjoyed this story a
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, re-reading
I'm far too fond of this to be able to review it with any objectivity - it was the first NA to really, truly capture what it was I loved in Doctor Who, and about the Seventh Doctor in particular; it used Ace wisely and well, played logically on a large and convoluted canvas, and did enough gut-kicking emotionally to be very satisfying indeed. On mature reflection I don't think Benny is particularly well served, but that in itself works because of her own views on that precise question; and I can ...more
Linnea Gelland
Oct 10, 2017 rated it liked it
A sometimes exciting book, with a lot of action in it. And a lot of beating up the Doctor. The tensions within the dynamic trio start to really build up here and it's interesting to see what conflicts may spring from putting such different people together in one room, often during a crisis. And let's face it - when isn't there a crisis?

We have a kind of mind-vampire that tries to leech off the Doctor, which is pretty exciting (even if it isn't that uncommon for some reason), and Cristían is a fa
Jun 07, 2018 rated it liked it
A strangely paced novel by an author that seems to value a puzzling structure over quality content - while Hummingbird does indeed have some very resonant emotional beats and impressive set pieces, by the end it has fallen apart completely. Somewhat disappointing.
Adam James
Aug 24, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2014, doctor-who
Ya know, the real upside to Doctor Who getting cancelled in '89 was the chance for novelized stories to really enter into new territories. Crazy stuff like character development and, in The Left-Handed Hummingbird's case, something Doctor Who was always missing: hardcore drug use.

The Doctor takes LSD. Kate Orman thought this would be a super idea. Probably because in order to write this ridiculous and unhinged book, Kate Orman had to have been on LSD. And in order for fans to understand it, the
I would probably give this 3.5 stars. I thought it started very well, I liked the parts with the Doctor visiting the aztecs (and all the little references to Barbara). But it did focus a bit too much on the negative aspects of their society. The Doctor seemed very much like Sylvester's doctor, I could often hear him speaking all the Doctor's lines which was really good. Ace and Benny much less so. This was not the Bernice "danger" Summerfield of the later audios. At a huge hippie party and she s ...more
May 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
And this is possibly the first time a NA deals properly with the whole idea of time-travel, in which the story occurs very deliberately non-chronologically and yet it all hangs together in a properly linear fashion for the Doctor and his companions whilst the other central characters encounter them entirely "out-of-sequence".

There are a couple of unsatisfying aspects - the finalé aboard the Titanic is slightly disappointing even though it is vividly realised, and the bad guy is rather one-dimens
Feb 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
This is a very mixed bag. The plot itself is both weak and quite problematic at times (I don't like either of the ideas that non-European civilizations were successful only due to alien intervention or that alien influence is what caused human atrocities) and there are some little odd dated moments in it, like sometimes just referring to non-white people by their ethnicity not their name (in particular with Cristian when there are actually quite a number of characters with indigenous Mesoamerica ...more
Kate Sherrod
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctor-doctor
There is so much to like about this novel that I'm not even going to bother with its few flaws (*cough* Beatles). The jeopardy is actually compelling, the settings are fantastic (I loves me some Aztecs. From a safe distance) the enemy is genuinely frightening, and then there's Ace kicking some Aztec ass. While the Doctor trips balls. Oh, and Bernice is in it, too. This wad my introduction to Bernice. Meh. But the native companion character mute than makes up for Bernice's blandness. Cristian is ...more
Christopher Buchanan
I know this was Kate Ormans first outing for Doctor Who but it wasn't my first Kate Orman book. Thusly, I was not even remotely surprised at how good it was. Fascinating and complex story. It gets a tad confusing at bits and there's some wonky POV going on in a part or two but that's all the negative I've got. She believably pulls some disparate events together in the story in a way that quite surprisingly works. I know some folks don't care for the dark Doctor or Battle Ace (I'm not one of them ...more
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

Everything was thoughtfully captured and the plot is distorted and from a genuine time travel point of view the only linear moments are from the main character's point of views.

There is also a nice darker side to the story where not everyone was saved and even by standers and passers by have to succumb to their fates as the Doctor tries to save the worl with the lesser of two evils.

I would suggest to anyone wanting to look into Doctor Who this book.
Michel Siskoid Albert
Jan 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
In Hummingbird, the 7th Doctor, Ace and Bernice go up against an Aztec god that feeds on death, criss-crossing history a number of times. I've never read an Orman Who book I didn't like and this was no different. Her research is, as always, impeccable, painting an authentic, gorgeously detailed pre-Cortez Mexico. The New Adventures are pretty dark compared to the show and this novel is part of that particular shift. Sometimes hard (the names, the paradoxes, the darkness), but worthy.
Nicholas Whyte
Apr 08, 2009 rated it liked it

This New Adventure takes the Doctor, Ace and Benny back and forth in time to crucial points like the murder of John Lennon and the sinking of the Titanic, on a trail originating in Mexico in the fifteenth and also twentieth centuries. There are consciousness-altering drugs and prose which reminded me of Ian McDonald, and a satisfying resolution to the pursuit of a mostly non-corporeal baddie.
Sep 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: doctor-who-tw
This one is dense, timey-wimey, definitely the most complex DW novel I've read to date, rich with Aztec mythology, Western social history, and tons of references to Ace's and Benny's story arcs - much of which I haven't read. I spent a lot of it feeling lost but still enjoying the ride. I may just have to read it again - possibly after catching up on those story arcs.
Daniel Kukwa
Feb 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
Kate Orman's celebrated debut Doctor Who novel. There are a few plot quibbles I have, such as the digression with UNIT, but overall this is a powerful, bloody, thrillng novel, featuring an astonishing command of the 7th Doctor, Ace & Benny. A novel with an impact equal to a fist in the face...without any of the painful after-effects. :)
Nov 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leah Tedesco
Mar 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
I like how this story deals with some adult themes and content that you don't see on the show. It makes the universe fuller and more believable.
Shannon Appelcline
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A great story told in a compelling way with deep and interesting characters. To this date, the best New Adventure
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