Copycat alert!

Tonight I’ve discovered something of a buzz on the blogosphere about a plagiarist by the name of Richard Ridyard rather brazenly copying some well-known horror stories and passing then off to markets (paying or otherwise) as his own. The most notorious example so far is Ridyard’s attempt to pass off Stephen King’s “The Boogeyman” as his own to Shock Totem magazine. US horror writer Angel Zapata did some detective work to uncover what could turn out to be the tip of a nasty iceberg.

Ridyard has also chosen to plagiarise our own Deborah Biancotti’s award-winning story “The First and Final Game”. She discusses the incident here.

It turns out Ridyard is involved in an editorial capacity with new UK publisher Valentine Publications. This caught my attention as Valentine proclaims itself to be the “Home of British Flash Fiction”. The astute observer will be aware that flash fiction is something of an interest of mine (Shards, Black Box, Shadow Box, Shadowed Realms…).
The Valentine Publications front page is temporarily down, but I was able to view the back end pages through a cache (if it still works, the link is here). Given the involvement of a pretty arsey plagiarist, should it come as any surprise that the Valentine Publication’s ‘About Us’ page would draw ‘inspiration’ from elsewhere? Possibly a well-known flash fiction publisher from Down Under?
Here is the Valentine Publications ‘About Us’ blurb:
“Valentine Publications is an English independent publisher of short fiction. Established in 2009, Valentine Publications are already developing a strong track record of publishing short fiction through Fragments, England’s professional short fiction magazine. Along side the magazine Valentine Publications also runs Escape Realm: The English Short Fiction Web Log and Blog which is home to all 4 of the creators of Valentine Publications.”
Here is the Brimstone Press ‘About Us’ blurb (only recently changed on the website, but this original is still viewable on the Google cache).
“Brimstone Press is a Western Australian independent publisher of dark fiction (horror and dark fantasy). Established in 2004, Brimstone Press has a strong track record of publishing short fiction through Shadowed Realms, Australia’s professional dark fiction magazine. In 2005, Brimstone expanded into non-fiction with the publication of HorrorScope: The Australian Dark Fiction Web Log, an online review and criticism zine.”
Intriguingly, it appears that Valentine’s ‘Fragments’ and ‘Escape Realm’ don’t yet exist (or maybe they do, but they’re not linked on the VP site). Angela and I are always happy to inspire new talent but not really in this kind of way. At least it’s just a promotional blurb and not someone’s fiction, but it paints an interesting picture, eh?


  1. Angel Zapata says:

    Quite intriguing, indeed. Thanks for linking back to my blog, Mr. Cummings. The more people know, the better.


  2. Jeff says:

    As an editor dooped by this idiot, I'm appreciative of anyone helping with this story. This whole thing is disgusting.

  3. Jeff R says:

    Can I humble suggest that the cretin involved be imprisoned in a cell with non stop Celine Dion playing and Stephenie Meyer novels being the only reading material.

    Oh and Oz's recent loss of the ashes replayed endlessly on TV, though that might only work for Aussies 🙁

  4. Mark Smith-Briggs says:

    So is this guy for real or is it an elaborately planned hoax. Surely someone would not be so stupid as to rip off everyone so blatantly.

  5. abrokenlaptop says:

    Thank you for posting this and linking to my blog post. I'm still outraged.

    Although it is popular opinion that this might "just" be a hoax, that doesn't change the fact that this person is stealing other people's work. Whatever the intention behind it might be, there are victims who are finding their livelihood being stripped away. Plagiarism often ends up in lawsuits, and there is a reason for it.

    Again, thanks for the post. It's an excellent read.


  6. Benjamin Solah says:

    Seen this everywhere on the net. This is quite insane.

    I wonder if we'll ever be able to find out who originally owned all of his stories…

  7. Nix says:

    He stole his *about page*? You don't need *any* talent to write that. It takes more effort to find and copy someone else's about page than to write a new one. Unless he copied more…

    … I suspect he scraped the HTML for your whole website and just gave it a light dusting. It would fit his apparent MO (never write anything if you can copy it).