John Anthony Alvan Nichols

Health, Fitness & Dieting, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Author Profile

John Anthony Alvan Nichols

John Nichols graduated from Liverpool Medical School in 1967 and entered General Practice in Guildford in 1971. He spent six months as research assistant to Ian Watson at the Shere GP practice in Surrey working on various projects including a trial of revaccination against measles 5-10 years after primary immunisation which showed a decline in immunity that was boosted by revaccination. In 1973 he joined The Fairlands GP Practice near Guildford where he was able to collaborate with university colleagues on a number of research projects. He was also a GP trainer for 20 years. He graduated the MSc Nutritional Medicine in 2005 and was subsequently appointed as a Visiting Research Fellow in 2011. He has published research on zinc status and postnatal depression, trace elements and female infertility, smoking cessation, diverticular disease and the use of probiotics in primary care. Published books include two books on Nutritional Medicine and three works of fiction. One science fiction novel has been published as a paperback and two are currently only available as e-books; all available through Amazon books.


Professor Ricksted's Children and the Aliens

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Ricksted's Syndrome children are slow to acquire normal human language but can understand non-human language. When invasion by hostile viking-like aliens is imminent, SETI scientist receive a warning message from a friendly alien but it sounds like gobbledygook! Two Ricksted children are able to come to the rescue. The USA president wants to nuke the aliens - not a good idea! The invasion starts just as the Ricksted children (with a little help from friends) have a breakthrough. This is NOT a children's book!

Book Bubbles from Professor Ricksted's Children and the Aliens

Professor Ricksted's Children and the Aliens

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Ricksted's Syndrome children are slow to acquire normal human language but can understand non-human language. When invasion by hostile viking-like aliens is imminent, SETI scientist receive a warning message from a friendly alien but it sounds like gobbledygook! Two Ricksted children are able to come to the rescue. The USA president wants to nuke the aliens - not a good idea! The invasion starts just as the Ricksted children (with a little help from friends) have a breakthrough. This is NOT a children's book!

Book Bubbles from Professor Ricksted's Children and the Aliens

Child code crackers

The "weak signal" has been identified as the efforts of a friendly alien to make contact and to help humans defend themselves from the hostile aliens but the adult scientists have been unable to decipher this message. Dr Amanda Dixon is certain that these two Ricksted children can "crack the code". Here they are just making a start but have a long way to go before a genuine breakthrough. Why are these alien messages so difficult to understand? Will they be able to crack the code and communicate with the friendly alien in time to save humanity? What can be done to defeat the hostile aliens anyway?

Jack turning into Dr Dolittle?

Jack Parsons aged five has only been able to utter single words. Dr Andrew Sender, nevertheless, identified him as Ricksted sydrome but a high IQ. Would Professor Ricksted's suggestion of the nutritional supplement Rostaventrol help him? Now, out of the blue, he starts talking in sentences. Stranger still is that he seems able, like Dr Dolittle, to understand animal "language". Where will this all end? It is becoming obvious that Manchester SETI will need someone to help them translate the garbled message from the friendly alien and that the first signal is from a dangerous unfriendly alien source. Could little Jack Parsons be the solution?

First contact with aliens?

Al Bicknell and his team at Manchester SETI are pretty certain that this is the real thing. Not just one but two complex signals that could surely only be from an alien intelligence. No wonder they are excited. Al tells his staff that SETI California have detected a signal too but only one signal. The importance of this difference between Manchester and California is not immediately obvious but it will turn out to be a political embarrassment for the USA and Howard Acton, the USA president is infuriated. It turns out that the weaker of the two signals, which SETI California cannot hear, is from a friendly alien who will be the only thing standing between Earth survival and annihilation by the Sectopled invasion!

Dr Andrew Sender and wife

This story revolves around Andrew Sender, a grass roots hospital doctor who specializes in Pediatrics (children's medicine). His research on Ricksted syndrome is being stifled. Soon he will discover that his research will lead him into the world of high politics and a battle to save Earth from an alien invasion. Two small children with Ricksted syndrome will be his key allies together with scientists at Manchester SETI (Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence). But for now, let us see how he copes with simple domesticity. His little son is about to creep downstairs complaining that he can't get to sleep!

Professor Ricksted's Children and the Aliens

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Ricksted's Syndrome children are slow to acquire normal human language but can understand non-human language. When invasion by hostile viking-like aliens is imminent, SETI scientist receive a warning message from a friendly alien but it sounds like gobbledygook! Two Ricksted children are able to come to the rescue. The USA president wants to nuke the aliens - not a good idea! The invasion starts just as the Ricksted children (with a little help from friends) have a breakthrough. This is NOT a children's book!

Book Bubbles from Professor Ricksted's Children and the Aliens

President Howard Acton

Howard Acton, President of the USA is not a happy bunny and you really cannot blame him. Those snooty Brits have out manoeuvered him again. This time it is a really serious matter. They seem to have a better idea of what's going on in outer space than him and he is, after all, the leader of the free world. He is taking out his frustration on one of his chief scientists, poor Steve Steinburg. Don't worry, however, Howard Acton has a softer side as Steinburg discovers on the long journey to Geneva on Ariforce One.

Hostile alien finds Earth

Two alien space crafts are heading for Earth at half the speed of light. One is enormous and its alien Viking-like crew is intent on harvesting all Earth's resources, including its metal core and the other is a small intergalactic warning device but its attempts to communicate with Earth scientists at SETI Manchester, UK fail until they are helped by Jack, a five-year-old boy, and Amanda, an eight-year-old girl, both with Ricksted Syndrome, a rare syndrome that causes delay in human speech but an enhanced ability to understand non-human communication. Other characters include the loud-mouthed USA president Howard Acton. Luckily, he has a highly gifted side kick, his aide Jack Lewis and Steve Steinburg the chief scientist at SETI California who work together to prevent Acton from making too many mistakes. That is, until, as the alien invasion proceeds, Acton is dragged off and abducted by the aliens! Acton is not the only victim of the early stage of the alien invasion as the aliens send harvesting crafts to satisfy their voracious appetite for animal and human flesh to feed their self-replicating hub. Can Jack and Amanda working with the SETI scientists to communicate with the intergalactic warning device and learn how to defeat the aliens? and what happens to Howard Acton on the alien space craft?

The Cosmic Lifeguard and other stories

Science Fiction & Fantasy

My seventeen short stories are arranged in chronological order with the exception of the first "The Cosmic Lifeguard" which is the story of an alien who can recover victims from a watery grave. As for the rest, they start in ancient Greece and finish with a story of the very distant future. Many of my stories started as thought experiments such as "Could someone sometime in the Middle Ages have discovered the cause of bubonic plague and why were they ignored?" or "Could druids have known how to treat cancer?".

Book Bubbles from The Cosmic Lifeguard and other stories

A brainy amoeba

I wrote this story as a result of difficulties I was having at work due to some fundamental disagreements with a colleague. This was a colleague I liked and admired and I suppose I used the story to work through my feelings about this clash of personalities. As I saw it, he was the sun and I was the amoeba. I have read that it is theoretically feasible for a single cell to store as much information as a human brain, so a brainy amoeba just might be possible. The internal organization of that single cell would have to be radically altered, of course. At the end of the story, the amoeba has the last laugh and that made me feel good!

The doctor's decision

Jenny is determined to be loyal to her boyfriend but what about contraception and what about university. The doctor would like to help her but he knows things about the contraceptive pill, its side effects and long term fertility issues that Jenny hasn't explored. He feels duty-bound to be thorough and that includes an internal examination which she hadn't expected and which, naturally enough, increased her anxiety and embarrassment. You may feels annoyed by this doctor but he is only human and has Jenny's best interests at heart. What's more, we discover that the doctor has feet of clay. When he has seen his last patient, he goes to the toilet to pass water and there's blood in his urine. Perhaps this rings the death knoll for the doctor whilst Jenny will live a long and happy life thanks to his thoroughness.

The old man and the weir

Quite clearly this man (David Stafford) is hundreds of years old and we will soon learn how he has managed to survive so long and establish himself on an alien world. Of course, it would be useful if Earth colonists on an alien world could benefit from current research that promises to treat ageing as a disease and allow humans to live longer healthier lives giving them a chance to make an impact on this new world. But to what real purpose? This raises some ethical considerations. As David Stafford later says, "It's OK to mess up your own back yard but you shouldn't mess up someone else's back yard." So who would claim Franton03 as their own back yard? He soon finds out.

A Thought Experiment

Many of my short stories started off as thought experiments. In "A Visit from Hippocrates" I was toying with the idea that someone in ancient Greece could have set up a double blind placebo experiment to test the efficacy of Pycnogenol in prevention of sunburn. In this story, a slave girl and her young master, who has studied under Hippocrates, experiment on Celtic slaves comparing an ancient Greek version of Pycnogenol with a similar tasting placebo. If the story makes sense then perhaps it really could have happened? In another story, two characters in Medieval Brittany work out that rats and fleas carry the plague but the knowledge is lost. The Medieval world preferred to believe that the plague was caused by the Jews poisoning the wells!

Nutrition and Science

Nutrition and Science

Health, Fitness & Dieting

This book is designed to give a completely up-to-date summary of Nutritional Medicine as it applies to front line medical professionals, medical students and the interested layperson. Newspapers often give contradictory and confusing reports on issues such as alcohol intake, dietary sugars versus fats and the value or not of taking supplements. In addition, many GPs are as confused as their patients on these matters as they get very little education in nutrition either at medical school or afterwards. But nutritional medicine is not really that confusing. There is some disagreement among experts but there is a consensus on the most important issues, albeit with slight variations. I have summarized these generally agreed opinions but explained where there are differences of opinion and the reasons for these. This book is written in a style I use to communicate with patients and GP colleagues, using minimal scientific jargON.

Book Bubbles from Nutrition and Science

The trans-fatty acid scandal

Trans-fatty acid (TFA) rich foods were incorrectly thought to be a healthy alternative to fats derived from animal sources. How important was this for the epidemic of deaths from heart attacks in the mid 20th century? This is unlikely to be the only cause of all those early deaths. I have dealt with another explanation elsewhere in this book. Poverty and starvation during the depression of the 1920s to 1930s had a lifelong affect on the unborn child increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks in middle life. However, TFAs were undoubtedly a major factor and the guilt of the scientists and the food industry involved has been downplayed.

The Mismatch Theory

There is a mismatch between our stone-age genetic legacy and the modern environment. Apart from the nutritional problems explained in this excerpt, there are issues of pollution, work stress and chemical exposure. Food has been adulterated intentionally or unintentionally for hundreds of years and modern processed food is by no means free of this risk. Until recently trans fatty acids were added to various foods to make them tastier and to improve shelf life. Now we know that they were one of the main reasons for an epidemic of mid-life heart attacks and most governments are working to reduce trans fatty acids in food to a minimum. However, mismatch problems continue to haunt us and there is no easy route back to a stone-age lifestyle and diet.

An Introduction to Nutritional Medicine

Health, Fitness & Dieting

This book imagines a meeting between Charles Darwin and Hippocrates, the ancient Greek father of medicine, supposing that any dialogue between these two great thinkers should be quite sensational. Each chapter is introduced by a short dialogue between the two great men and the book covers some of the main areas of this large subject including controversial issues such as the use of nutritional supplements, probiotics and junk food.

Book Bubbles from An Introduction to Nutritional Medicine

Folic acid and what else?

In this section of the book, I considered what nutritional supplements women should take to prepare for pregnancy. There is absolutely no doubt that all women should bump up their folate status by taking folic acid. Folate deficiency is common in young women and this can have dire consequences. there is also a good case for improving intake of vitamin D, iodine, iron, selenium and zinc but all of these could be achieved by improving dietary intake. For iodine, I would advise everyone to only buy and use iodised salt. For the rest, a diet including meat, fish, five-a-day fruit and vegetables and dairy products should be good enough. Therefore vegetarians and the 20% of the population who never eat fish have a problem and perhaps only a supplement like Pregnacare plus is the answer. Keeping to this sort of diet can be impossible in early pregnancy due to nausea and vomiting of pregnancy which reinforces the argument for getting good nutritional intake established in preparation for pregnancy. But why on earth do pregnant women feel nauseous and sick? Well, I have attempted to explain this later on in this chapter.

Pregnancy sickness unmasked

Pregnancy sickness is a mystery that just doesn't make sense. Why would women be unable to eat and drink normally at a time when good nutrition is so important to the developing fetus. However, consideration of nutritional factors against a Darwinian backcloth does finally make some sense as explained in my book. Some degree of reflex nausea warns women against unsuitable foods that do her no harm but might harm the unborn child. Surely, I hear you say, it shouldn't be so severe that it could kill the mother and child as with poor Charlotte Bronte - difficult to explain but you have to take into account Darwin's rule that natural selection does not deliver perfection but just an adaption that is "good enough" and Charlotte's death is an example of such an "imperfection".

Vitamins and minerals

The busy GP (family doctor) may dismiss any discussion on vitamin and mineral supplements or food allergy with these brief comments such as the myth of the well balanced diet. The whole subject is much more complicated as explained here. For instance a well balanced diet cannot compensate for the lack of sunshine during the winter months in Northerly climes causing vitamin D deficiency and this is just one example. In this book I have attempted to deal with such issues comprehensively and I have recruited Charles Darwin and Hippocrates to help me with this task.


Science Fiction & Fantasy

‎The Queen of the Critons rules her sector of the galaxy with an iron fist but she has a softer side. Her private retreat is a garden planet, Spara 692, supervised by one of her favorites, a Criton scientist called Lodden. She loves her garden planet and refers to its guardian as "Gardener Lodden." However, when she visits with her recently acquired male consort, she is frightened by a large carnivorous dinosaur and leaves the planet in a dangerous dark mood. Lodden is devastated and retreats to his home on the planet's only moon where he puts himself into absolute cryostasis for millions of years and whilst he "sleeps" weeds grow in the garden. The worst weeds are bipeds evolved from apes who take over the planet, pollute the atmosphere and damage flora and fauna. When Lodden awakes, it is inevitable that sooner or later there will be an encounter between Lodden and a biped (or "human") and when this happens, a train of events unfold that leads back to the Queen herself and a dread judgement.


What happened here?

When Julia spied on Lodden, he used a brain ray to knock her out and then used a brain probe to wipe her memory. However, she's a bright girl and she knows something isn't right. She persuades her boyfriend, Philip, to take her back to the place where she had been found lost and groggy in the Kalahari desert and they start to dig for evidence. The first thing they find is evidence that some sort of rocket ship has blasted a crater in the rocky terrain. No, Philip, it wasn't a Russian spy with a rocket ship, it was Lodden. Will they track down the mysterious alien? and will their friendship blossom into something more permanent?

Last surviving Criton scientist

When Loddon travels back from Earth to the Queen's Palace, the headquarters of the Criton empire, after narrowly escaping a death sentence, he discovers from the ancient Criton, Clandocyte, that the Queen has established an absolute autocracy. She had wiped out the scientific elite when they challenged her power. Can the Criton dynasty survive without scientists? There are already signs of cultural decay and Criton feels a great burden of responsibility as the only surviving Criton scientist but what should he do, what can he do? As it happens, events determine what he can and should do.

The Queen's Judgement

Perhaps it was a foregone conclusion that the Queen would sentence Lodden to death for allowing her garden planet to be overrun by the obnoxious bipeds. However, when she also orders the culling of all the bipeds (humans) the "sacred sphere", a galactic monitoring device, responds when Feltondyte, Lodden's lawyer, appeals to it with a claim of "genocide." What will the outcome be? Lodden is still under sentence of death by vaporization. How can he possibly escape the Ventor guard? One clue to the outcome of this drama is the relationship between the Queen and her royal consort, the King. Normally she can automatically overrule him but the intervention of the Sacred Sphere may have changed things.

Human meets alien

Julia has bumped into Lodden, a Criton scientist who has been abandoned on planet earth by his liege the Queen of All Critons, the most powerful person in this sector of the galaxy. She abandoned him 80 million years ago when, on a visit to Earth, her "Garden Planet" she was frightened by a large carnivorous dinosaur. A full account of this episode is the subject of Chapter 1. Julia's encounter with Lodden will change the course of history for Earth, for the Criton dynasty and eventually for the rest of the galaxy.

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