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.
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.
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 TRIAL OF GARDENER LODDEN
Clandocyte's eyes were closed. It had all started with his sons when they developed a technique for instant thought transference and the Queen had shown a special interest. She had commissioned a control system from them, which would give her complete control over her Ventor guards. They refused and referred the matter to a meeting of leading Criton scientists. The meeting agreed unanimously that the Queen had no rights in the matter. They regarded this as an important test case and drew up a Charter of Rights and Responsibilities for the Queen. This outlined their view of the relationship between the monarchy and the scientific elite and made it clear that the application of scientific innovations should be controlled by the scientific establishment. The Queen was furious. She acted rapidly and with deadly efficiency. The Ventor guard had surrounded the scientists before they had left their meeting in the symposium chamber. They were armed with vapouriser beamers and the few scientists who had had the wit to arm themselves before the meeting were no match for the sheer weight of numbers. Never before had a Criton monarch used power in this way and after the death of all the scientists in the palace, the Queen established supreme autocracy
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