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?