Left-Handed Hummingbird

Title: The Left-Handed Hummingbird
Author: Kate Orman
Genre: SF, Tie-In
Series: Doctor Who New Adventures
Copyright: 1993
Ranking: ?Unranked
Binding: paperback
LibraryThing: Title:Left-Handed Hummingbird WorkId 49277
Type: Owned
Read: 1993

This novel is right up there with Love & War in the best NA category, I think. Why? Hmmm. Many of the NA's are "okay". They have nothing wrong with them. But to be an outstanding story, it needs something extra; some character insight or development which changes the relationship of the major characters, an original plot/twist/adversary, an excellent turn of phrase - and LHH had all of these. Here, the Doctor is put in a position he has never been in before, hoist on his own petard, a victim of his own way of doing things, caught in a trap that travels with him.

I am reminded of the Blake's 7 quote:
"When you know an enemy's strengths, and can use them against them, they become weaknesses."
-- Servalan, to Travis (Blake's 7: Weapon [B3])

There are some good insights about him and Ace, wondering if they are more alike than they like to admit... And finally, those turning phrases, made me want to write again. It's not often you get some lovely stuff you'd like to quote - my quotes file has many gems from "Transit", but hardly anything from the other NA's. This one doesn't have as many quotable jewels, but a number of places that made you sit up and take notice. My favourite is:
"Ashes to nothing. Dust to nothing. Live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful empty space where you used to be." (p220)

This story stood out because, as I said above, this is the first time that the Doctor has been a victim. There have been times when he has been helpless to help others. There have been times when he has been at the losing end, but he has been in control, able to play for time. There has even been the time, with the Timewyrm, where half the time he hasn't been in control, but he has always been playing his game, fencing with the enemy. This time he couldn't fence at all. The quote from Nietzsche at the start is doubly fitting now that I know what happened. Because that's what happened. He gazed into the Abyss, and became a monster. This is a good follow-on from The Dimension Riders, because the stakes have upped. In The Dimension Riders, for the first time, the Doctor's clever plan didn't work, and someone else's clever plan did. He was helped by someone else. And in The Left-Handed Hummingbird, the Doctor was up against something too big for him to handle; he hardly had a plan at all (no great plan involves suicide...), and that didn't work either. The Doctor is so used to being more capable than everyone else he meets, is he incapable of accepting help from others? I mean real help, not directed assistance to fight the enemy. He got into this trouble because he went looking for it.

Sid & Nancy scale: a thunderstorm wrapped in blue