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Nerine Dorman's review of The Emerald Forge
Posted by DoctorMandaBenson on Thu, Oct 24, 2013 22:46
Nerine Dorman reviews The Emerald Forge -- read Nerine's review here.

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Books reduced on Amazon UK!
Posted by DoctorMandaBenson on Thu, May 23, 2013 16:38
Pilgrennon's Beacon (£3.50), The Weatherman's Niece (£1.86), and Dark Tempest (£4.50) paperbacks are all currently being offered at reduced prices on UK Amazon.

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The Lady's Not For Turning
Posted by DoctorMandaBenson on Mon, Apr 8, 2013 14:33
My tribute to Margaret Thatcher, who died today, aged 87.

I grew up with Thatcher in power and she showed me that being female did not mean you had to suck, or be condemned to being someone’s wife/mother and nothing else. Whilst there are a lot of women today who are looked upon as role models, I have always found alarming the proportion of idolised women who are in such a position for doing something that is trivial and unimportant, or, even worse, simply for shoving their cleavages in a camera.

Thatcher did not achieve what she did by looking like a tart. She was middle aged when she came into the public eye. More than anyone, she was successful because of her ideas and her passion for the career she chose. I can never understand how so much venomous hate was directed at Thatcher simply because of her success, and not just because people disagreed with her ideology and the way she did things. Part of it, I must sadly admit, surely originates from some deep misogyny buried in humanity that will not accept a woman being successful in the same way that a man is.

People are always complaining about the lack of prominent female figures in history. The Falklands War has two of them, in Thatcher the leader who went to war to defend her people, and in the other, Trudi McPhee, a Falklands farmer who led the resistance down in the South Atlantic. The Falklands War is a quintessential piece of British heroine history, and yet they don’t teach about it in schools because apparently it’s not politically correct that our country protected its own people’s freedom and right of self-determination.

Rest in peace, Thatcher. I salute you, for your courage and not being afraid to do what needed to be done, even if you were reviled because of it and if even after victory the facts were always swept under the carpet because the reality of them made fashionable pretenders uncomfortable. May you be granted the heroism in death that you were denied in life.

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Review
Posted by DoctorMandaBenson on Thu, Feb 7, 2013 18:27
Noor Jahangir, author of The Changeling King, has written a review of The Emerald Forge, rating it 4/5 stars: "The characters are unique and immediately iconic, as is the author’s style which sets this book apart from other dystopian tales written in the past twenty years." Thanks Noor!

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Solstice promotion
Posted by DoctorMandaBenson on Fri, Dec 21, 2012 10:40
Happy Solstice! To celebrate, and as a promotional offer for the recent publication of The Emerald Forge, the electronic edition of Pilgrennon's Beacon is available to download free on Amazon from the 21st to the 25th. You can read this format on your smartphone, computer, tablet, etc. by downloading a free Kindle app.

Click for link to the UK and the US.



Caught in a feud between the two greatest minds of her time, Dana must reach the distant beacon to uncover the dark secrets of her past.

Dana Provine is a girl with mild autism and a secret ability to mentally control computers, who runs away from bullies at her school in Coventry after a hospital scan reveals an object lodged in her brain. A compelling signal leads her north to the Outer Hebrides and an abandoned military facility on the remote and supposedly haunted Flannan Isles, where she hopes to untangle the mystery shrouding her birth and her missing parents. But as the lies of the past unfold, Dana unwittingly finds herself under the scrutiny of a government supercomputer with the power to destroy everything she knows...

This e-Edition includes an excerpt from the sequel, deleted scenes, and some other bonus material not available in the paperback version.

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12.12.2012
Posted by DoctorMandaBenson on Wed, Dec 12, 2012 11:56


Book 2 of Pilgrennon's Children, The Emerald Forge, releases today:

Who is the boy spying on Dana? Who is the girl imprisoned in her dreams?

Following the Information Terrorism attack on London, a radical new government has risen to power. The world is changing, but so far as it concerns Dana Provine, an unusual autistic girl growing up in an unforgiving society, everyday life is much the same.
When Dana is troubled by disturbing dreams about a hospital, and a boy from school who seems to know far too much about the past starts following her, it’s just two more problems on top of many. But when she encounters a bizarre construct, half beast, half machine, she realises something dangerous is going on that could affect everyone. The answer she seeks could confirm both her greatest hope and her deepest fear: that Ivor Pilgrennon still lives.

There are a few ways you can get a copy. You can walk into a bookshop of your choice and order the trade paperback, in which case you'll need the ISBN number, 978-0-9566080-7-9. Amazon hasn't yet updated the page to show the book as available, but you can (or should soon be able to) order it in the UK and US. Alternatively, you can download it from Amazon in the .prc electronic format that you can read on a smartphone or computer with a free Kindle app.

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Update
Posted by DoctorMandaBenson on Tue, Jun 19, 2012 17:36
I have updated the main page -- some links that were previously returning to the home page are now functioning correctly and some pages under construction have been completed.

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Update
Posted by DoctorMandaBenson on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 17:40
Just a quick update. Although not much seems to be going on here at the moment, I'm busy with life stuff and with writing book 2 of Pilgrennon's Children. The Emerald Forge is planned for publication on 12/12/12. Below is the cover as it stands as of current progress.

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Moonsteed now out in paperback
Posted by DoctorMandaBenson on Fri, Nov 11, 2011 10:20
11/11/11 Moonsteed, science-fiction adventure novel with some explicit sexual scenes, is now available in paperback.

The shops haven't caught up yet, but you should be able to order it now to be delivered when they have it in stock.

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Pilgrennon's Beacon on The Indie Spotlight
Posted by DoctorMandaBenson on Sat, Aug 20, 2011 17:23
My YA technothriller Pilgrennon's Beacon features on The Indie Spotlight. Click to read.

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Interview with GL Drummond
Posted by DoctorMandaBenson on Sun, Jul 17, 2011 22:35
Here's an interview with SF and urban fantasy author GL Drummond on her blog. In it, we discuss Moonsteed, tarantulas, and in what circumstances people have the right to be offended by other people. Also, there are two free copies of Pilgrennon's Beacon available for people commenting on the post.

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Dark Tempest, now available in paperback
Posted by DoctorMandaBenson on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 00:04
Dark Tempest is now available in paperback from the usual places.


It has been slightly updated from the Lyrical Press version. The most obvious change is the return to the inclusion of thee and thou in the speech of the genetic elite when addressing the genetic underclass. Thou was originally used as the informal way of addressing someone in English, much the same as the French still use vous formally and tu informally. See here for more information. Originally I chose to write it this way to express the contempt between the castes, and my editor at Lyrical suggested I change it when I sold them the book, fearing it might alienate some of the audience. While this is wholly understandable, I see the paperback as more of an enthusiast's item and thought some people might prefer to read it the way I'd originally intended it. If you prefer to read it with you instead, the electronic version published by Lyrical Press remains unchanged. :-)

A few copies with a typesetting error accidentally escaped into the wild. They are still perfectly legible, but a few passages inside them are in a similar but different font to the rest of the book. If you've ended up with one of these books and would prefer a correct one, we are happy to replace it free of charge. Please contact us using the address at the bottom of the main page.

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Moonsteed: now available in electronic
Posted by DoctorMandaBenson on Wed, May 18, 2011 07:20
Moonsteed, published by Lyrical Press, is now available in numerous electronic formats from Amazon and various other vendors. I'm hoping to have a paperback out in the next few months through Tangentrine. This is an erotic romance book, so if you've come here because you're more familiar with my children's books, be aware this might not be your cup of tea. :-) Heather Massey of The Galaxy Express has also commented on the book, praising it for its unconventional approach to erotic romance in a hard SF setting.



SHE KILLED A MAN DESERVING LIFE
AND LET LIVE A MAN WHO DESERVED TO DIE

Now Sergeant Zeta Verity has until next morning, or 16.7 Earth days, to stop him and bring justice to Callisto.

Born to be the best but living in the shadow of her auspicious ancestors, Verity has been posted to the newly terraformed Callisto by the Meritocracy’s pseudomilitary research arm to work with specially bred horses. Killing a spy in possession of stolen data is just another day’s work. She’s not impressed by timid and scholarly Vladimir Bolokhovski, who arrives at the research base with a beautiful stallion he has genetically engineered.
But when her superiors start disappearing and an arrest warrant is issued on Verity herself for spying, she discovers the spy was not what he appeared, and that someone is playing games with all of them. She’s going to need the help of both Vladimir and the dead spy to find and stop the mastermind behind it all.

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Moonsteed reviews
Posted by DoctorMandaBenson on Wed, May 11, 2011 02:29
Two good reviews of my forthcoming SF-romance-erotica novel Moonsteed. Sizzling Hot Book Reviews 4/5 and Ghostwriter Reviews 5/5.

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Pilgrennon's Beacon features on Tic Toc Reviews
Posted by DoctorMandaBenson on Sun, Apr 24, 2011 19:18
Leslie of Tic Toc Reviews has posted a review of Pilgrennon's Beacon, rating it as 4/5 stars. Pilgrennon's Beacon is available from the usual places in electronic and paperback format.

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Three Monkeys and the Alternative Vote
Posted by DoctorMandaBenson on Fri, Apr 22, 2011 10:54
In some of my books (the Pilgrennon’s Children series and related) I describe a fictitious near future with a method of governance radically different from the one we have at present. When I first began to explore the idea, I came up with an idealised ‘true democracy’ in which public referenda as nominated by the public themselves and regarding any aspect of how the country was run would be held every week or so. The votes would be processed and the results calculated by a phenomenally powerful national network of computers. There would be no Parliament, no politics, and no politicians.

Mainly due to my horror at some surveys of public opinion I read, I decided to change my envisioned system to use a ‘tiered’ voting model. The idea was that people earned the rights to greater vote ratings through various distinctions, such as earning a degree in an approved subject from a suitable university, reaching certain ranks in the military, or donating money to the public coffers (an optional taxation system). This seems to be the most controversial part of the idea, but the intention is to fortify the system to a degree against what I would call uninformed opinions — people with insufficient experience or education reacting emotionally to issues without researching or fully understanding the pros and cons. It also seems only fair that those who contribute the most to public funds should be entitled to slightly more of an influence about how those funds are spent.

The Meritocracy, as it’s called in the books, isn’t intended to be a solution to the ills of our current political system, but an alternative idea to encourage people to think more about this sort of thing. I personally think coming up with a system that will allow millions of very different people to live in the same country isn’t straightforward and there probably is no perfect answer. The supposed democracy we have in place at the moment is certainly better than vast majorities of dictatorships and monarchies, but the people themselves have little more than a choice of ‘three monkeys’ and no real direct influence on how the country is run. The three monkeys are concerned mainly with appealing to the aesthetics of the voters rather than the actual running of the country.

Of course, even if there were circumstances in place that would make this kind of meritocratic governance an option, there is as yet no infrastructure capable of supporting it. We haven’t yet built computers that powerful, or that reliable. Having a referendum is costly and time consuming, involving a national holiday so people can vote, printing a vast number of voting slips, sending a letter to everyone in the country eligible to vote, and finally delivering, counting, and processing all the votes. (For those interested in the Meritocracy, it will feature prominently in the forthcoming Pilgrennon's Children novel.) Which brings me to the topic of this post: the ‘Alternative Vote’ referendum.

In the current method of voting, everyone selects one candidate as the one they’d like to win. In the proposed alternative method, the voter numbers the candidates starting with 1 (most prefer) and descending. If one candidate gets more than 50% of the votes, that candidate wins outright. Otherwise, the votes from each of the candidates receiving the lowest number of votes are recounted and distributed according to their lower preferences, until one candidate has achieved 50% of the votes. That candidate is then declared the winner.

I believe if this alternative system were to be implemented, it would have very little effect on the actual outcome of general elections. I’ve heard it argued that this system would allow people to use their first vote to support a minority party, and then vote for the major party they considered the lesser of two evils as their second choice, but I can’t see this working, mainly because of the ridiculous way general elections are run. The electorate is divided up into regions, and in a large number of regions it’s not actually possible to vote for a minority party, because the minority party isn’t actually represented there because it doesn’t have the funds to pay for it, and you only have the choice of those that are available to your region. Judging by the ballots I’ve seen in the areas I’ve lived, people are going to vote for a minority party first, if there happens to be one with policies that interest them running in their area, then the major party they would have voted for anyway under the old system. Those who don’t have the option of a suitable minor party are simply going to choose the lesser of three evils and probably not bother to use their second and third choices.

On top of this, because the system is not as intuitive and straightforward by far as the existing one, there are a lot of people who are not going to understand it. People are going to be putting their hedged bet first and the ideal choice second because they don’t grasp how it works. In my opinion, the new system being proposed will make very little difference to the outcome of elections, other than wasting more time and money and spoiling more ballot papers.

There are real controversial issues that the public care about, that would benefit from a national referendum: what types of powerstations need to be built to deal with the incoming electricity deficit we’re going to end up with in a few years’ time after the current nuclear generators are decommissioned; genetic engineering; whether to leave the European Union; what to spend tax money on. Instead, the government has insulted the electorate by wasting the opportunity to have a referendum on something meaningful, and used the resources instead to have one on something gimmicky that will likely make very little difference in the real world. It’s not surprising that nobody seems particularly interested.

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Johan Poot 1960-2011, Husband & Papa
Posted by DoctorMandaBenson on Fri, Apr 1, 2011 22:16


This is a post in memoriam of Johan Poot, Auntie Jo's husband and father to their two children, whose funeral was today. Not long ago, Johan was diagnosed with advanced cancer after a long period of unexplained illness. He underwent surgery to clear a tumour that was blocking his intestines, but sadly the disease had weakened his body too much and he died last week. Although I did not know him particularly closely, I have known him for a long time, almost as long as I can remember. He was a kind person who loved working with computers, and once helped me out with the site when I was having problems with a server transfer. Johan liked riding his bike and eating hot curries from the Rajah's Kitchen. He also participated in the Great North Run on several occasions. He was the tallest person I ever met, and he was a good father and he loved his family. I thank him for the nice memories he leaves behind. My thoughts and sympathies are with Jo, Tom, and Ellen at this difficult time.





Yamaha Bike from Wikimedia Commons


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Running for the Embassy in Aoife's Kiss
Posted by DoctorMandaBenson on Thu, Mar 24, 2011 16:16
My short story, 'Running For the Embassy' is now available in the March issue of Aoife's Kiss. Click the cover image to visit their site.

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Tangentrine Guide to Motoring
Posted by DoctorMandaBenson on Mon, Mar 14, 2011 18:50
Special offer: The Tangentrine Guide to Motoring (46 pages of cartoons) is a spoof of The Highway Code. Its RRP is five quid, but I'm offering it at £3.50 inclusive of P&P to the UK. If you live somewhere other than the UK and you want one, email for a quote. I also have a few copies of Pilgrennon's Beacon (370-page novel, RRP 8.50, £7.50 P&P inclusive). Please Paypal the amount to publisher@tangentrine.com with what you want, where you want it, and any instructions (eg. if you want it signed and to whom) in the message box.

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Site improvements!
Posted by WebmasterMark on Tue, Mar 8, 2011 11:32
Good news everyone!(Yes, I stole that from Futurama)

Tangentrine.com should now load faster than ever, I've rewrote the back end code that runs the whole site, fixed even more bugs, removed some useless code that stops browsers from caching pages and finally got around to implementing a simple cache system! :D

Another Update

Fixed news post rendering after upgrade caused a few issues.

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