Calling all editors…

We are breaking from the usual flow of advertising to bring Richard Ridyard to your attention.

Angel Zapata was most surprised a couple of days ago when he received his daily copy of Flashshot and read the featured story, Imagination’s Burial by Richard Ridyard.  Zapata was stunned because, basically, he’d already written that story and had it published elsewhere. Zapata, coincidently, has also contributed to Flashshot in his time, which makes you wonder how Ridyard thought he was going to get away with it. I should probably point out at this stage that Flashshot is also an innocent party.

But there’s more. Much, much more. Zapata did some digging on Ridyard and uncovered a mountain of theft which he has now catalogued on his blog. I recommend you read it.

Then Shock Totem reveals that Ridyard has also been stealing from such obscure figures as Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft. His trick involves changing the title and then going though the text and swapping adjectives and nouns for similiar ones. That way the stories won’t show up with his name during a Google search. It’s foolproof! If you’re an idiot, that is.

Zapata also uncovered Valentine Publications, a flash fiction site where Ridyard was listed as an editor. They’re no longer online, but it is also possible that Ridyard uses the name R.M. Valentine. Someone at Valentine did reply anonymously to Zapata and said that they had been dealing with Ridyard for over a decade (Ridyard claims to be twenty-one) and had never known him to be dishonest. Ahem.

I first stepped in this mess through the British Fantasy Society, where it is also revealed that he is guilty of simultaneous submissions. That may seem a bit like parking on double yellow lines while you rob the bank, but it still wastes editors and readers’ time. That place that he filled in a magazine could have held one of your stories. Or – what’s worse – it already does, but under his name, and he’s receiving all of your good reviews and comments; and don’t forget that this creep is stealing money as well as stories. And, finally, can you imagine reading one of his mutilated stories before you’ve had the chance to read the original? Do you seriously think this idiot could improve a Stephen King story?

I have appeared in at least one publication that has innocently used a Richard Ridyard story and I feel that a little of my reputation has been chipped away by association (and, yes, I am more than well aware that it’s not a very big reputation to begin with). There’s no guarantee that Ridyard might not try this again under a different name, so keep watching the skies.

There was a similiar case in the early nineties when an arrogant Glasgow ‘writer’ calling himself  William James (real name: James William Bell) published a space-opera trilogy that stole large parts directly from the historical novels of Monica Hughes.  (Here and here.) He seemed oblivious to the fact that she is also  a respected science fiction author and was very surprised to get caught. After the lawyers had worked their dark arts he could be spotted rushing around second-hand shops trying to hunt down copies that hadn’t yet been pulped. He didn’t look quite as cocky then.

How’s that for a happy ending?


7 Responses to Calling all editors…

  1. Mercedes says:

    Thank you for posting this. Sound the alarm, my friends!

    Angel truly did some astounding searching. I am extremely impressed!

    Originally I was concerned that people were going to go on a witch hunt for the publishers who inadvertently published Ridyard’s stories, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I have seen nothing but empathy expressed for everybody even remotely involved in this mess. The sense of community exhibited is quite staggering, really.

  2. Ian Hunter says:

    Yeah, I’ve just been following this on some links from Ansible, and reading how this guy rewrote (ha, not very much) Stephen King’s story “The Boogeyman” from his first collection, and gave it a new title – the Greek word for “boogeyman”, and added or subtracted the odd word here and there. Off to rewrite JK Rowling. let’s see Harry Potter = Barry Hotspur; Hadrig = Girhad; Snape = Snake. How easy is this? I’m on a roll!


  3. Sue Babcock says:

    I just removed a story by Ridyard from our publication. From a quick search on the web for similar distinctive phrases from the story, I found the story previous cached at under RM Valentine, who had changed “his” identity to Vixen7 – a 16 year old girl from Afghanistan. Bah!

  4. Angel Zapata says:

    A happy ending, indeed. Thanks for bringing this to the attention of editors.

  5. jimsteel says:

    Mercedes: I don’t think any of the publishers and editors can be held responsible here. I certainly know that I’ve made plenty mistakes before now; it’s a hazard of working to deadlines. One of the annoying things about all of this is that the time spent fixing Ridyard’s damage is time that can’t be spent helping a real writer.

    Sue: I’ve contacted another website that was a victim, and they’ve also removed the offending story. Vixen7, you say? Ridyard does sound a bit like Reynard. Fox? Vixen? Trickster? I’m probably reading far too much into it.

    Angel: This business is hard enough without people like Ridyard screwing us. And if I’ve learned one thing from this, it’s that I never, ever want to get on the wrong side of you!

  6. jimsteel says:

    Hi Ian,

    I’ve just fished your comment out of the spam filter. Don’t know what happened there – sorry! Yeah, Ansible has some sharp reporters, that’s for sure!

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