We Interrupt This Blog Post…

King's Night Shift 1st Edition Cover

to give you a warning.  A few days ago Shock Totem received a story called “Baboulas” by an author calling himself Richard Ridyard.  John Boden, Assistant Editor of Shock Totem, read the story and immediately cried foul. 

“This is plagiarism,” he said.  “This is Stephen King’s ‘The Boogeyman’ from his Night Shift collection.  Even the title is the same!”  ‘Baboulas’ is the Greek word for ‘Boogeyman.’  Ken, the editor, read the story and wrote the guy back saying that Shock Totem wasn’t in the business of publishing authors who steal work from other authors, and that the guy was never to submit to Shock Totem again.  Ken then contacted the mod for Stephen King’s forum and let her know.  She said that she’d run it past King and see what he wants to do about it.

How similar was Richard Ridyard’s story to Stephen King’s?  Let’s see.  This was Ridyard’s story:

“I am here to tell you exactly what happened,” the man in interview room B was saying.  The man was Mark Baker from West Park Street.  According to the history Inspector Wilson had gathered, he was twenty-nine years old, employed by a large recruitment firm, married, and the father of a four year old girl named Vicky, now deceased.

This is King’s:

“I came to you because I want to tell my story,” the man on Dr. Harper’s couch was saying. The man was Lester Billings from Waterbury, Connecticut. According to the history taken from Nurse Vickers, he was twenty-eight, employed by an industrial firm in New York, divorced, and the father of three children. All deceased.
Wait, what?  Let’s compare the last paragraphs as well.


“So nice to see you again so soon, so nice,” Baboulas whispered.

It held its Inspector Wilson mask in one withered, shovel-claw hand.


“So nice,” the boogeyman said as it shambled out.

It still held its Dr. Harper mask in one rotted, spade-claw hand.”

Hmmm.  The rest of the story is the same way, but I think that the point has been made.

But this isn’t all.  While on Twitter today, I came across a tweet from Angel Zapata.  Apparently Angel had been plagiarized.  By who?  Richard Ridyard.  Now where had I seen that name before? OH YES, in the Shock Totem slushpile. And Angel wasn’t the only one.  There were several others.  You can read Angel’s excellent post here.

As I read that post, I kept thinking that this was a hoax, or somebody trying to prove a point, or a social experiment.   Or perhaps it really is just greed.  Either way, it is wrong and despicable to steal somebody else’s work.  It makes me slightly ill and extremely angry.  I could just spit.

This hit especially close to home since Angel’s plagiarized piece was published in the June issue of Micro 100. Jameson T. Caine and MK Crittenden are in that same issue. Kurt Newton and I are also in that magazine, along with my friends Codi Brock and b2. It isn’t just the greats anymore. Now it’s getting personal.

UPDATE: Pop by The Eyesore Times to see Ken’s version and his musings on theft in general. I would never dare to steal anything from that man! I mean, are you kidding?!

47 Comments on “We Interrupt This Blog Post…”

  1. Wow! That is so crazy! It makes me nervous to try and find an on-line crit group.

    I’m so glad the people you’re spreading the word. Hopefully no one else will have their words stolen.

  2. That was supposed to read that I’m so glad the people at shock totem and you are… Bleh, someday I’ll remember to proofread.

  3. That makes me sick also, considering I just spend a couple of hours working on a story that might be publishable if I work on it some more, I would hate someone stealing my work… I have taken things from one of my stories and talked about it in other stories (more like Kevin Smith does in his movies, talking about the same characters in different movies) but it’s all my own work in other pieces of my own work… very different

  4. What an absolute (self-censored; there’re ladies present). A quick google search on the name Richard Ridyard brings us the page http://thrillskillsnchills.blogspot.com/2009/09/darkness-within-by-richard-ridyard.html which describes him as follows:

    “Richard Ridyard is a 21 year old Law student who lives on the Wirral, England. His work has also been displayed on Antipodean SF,Bewildering Stories, FlashShot, Twisted Dreams magazine, Flashes in the Dark, Micro Horror, Midnight in Hell and many others.”

    If he is indeed a law student, and if it is the same Richard Ridyard, then he certainly ought to know better than to breach moral as well as (more than likely) legal laws!

  5. I thought that I saw a story of his a couple of days ago on Flashes in the Dark website. As I look back now, I don’t see it there…Thanks for making us all aware, Mercedes.

  6. Addendum: doing a quick search for works by Richard Ridyard, it appears that many places where he had stories have now pulled them; I keep meeting a lot of “page does not exist/no longer exists” messages now.

  7. Hi,

    Thanks for looking into this and publishing the plagiarist’s names. At this point in time, public exposure is the best cure.

    My husband wrote a story called Rolling a Perfect Cigarette, which won a minor online award, in the early 1990s. Imagine our surprise when we were notified by a fan six or seven years later that the entire story—not just sentences or paragraphs, mind you, but every word, including the title and the initials of my husband’s friends, which he used for character names—was published in an online magazine under someone else’s name.

    A university student required to get three stories accepted in order to earn his degree had submitted it. He’d gotten all three stories accepted by different online magazines. None were his own.

    Guess where he went after earning this degree by other people’s work?

    You guessed it. Law school.

    Be aware, people. Cut & paste is far, far too easy in this era of the Wild West online.

    Protect yourselves.

    Victoria Mixon

  8. With how tough it already is to get published, this guy makes me sick. To think that editors and agents are getting this stuff, which only limits the amount of time they have to read through the REAL writing.
    However, I love it that we can totally get out the digital pitchforks and roast this guy.
    I’m making a Richard Ridyard effigy, anyone got a match?

  9. Damn. What modern horror writer hasn’t been inspired by King? (or insipired by someone who was inspired…oh, forget it) It’s one thing to be inspired…but to lift a plot…sentence for sentence?

    Crazy. Stupid. Criminal.

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  12. OH the horror…the stupidity! I just hate people like this. I hope someone eventually sues him so he can see how costly it is to steal from others.

  13. Oh my god. This is just not right, i knew plagiarism was something to be very careful in this industry but wow reading this makes me so scare and angry. Thanks for sharing it.

  14. I saw the tweets about Angel Zapata’s discoveries and read up about it at his blog last night. This is utterly bizarre. I’m glad this guy’s plagiarism is being exposed.

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  16. just minutes ago I did a google search on Mr. Ridyard (Kipling perhaps?) and tried to look at all his published fiction. It seems to have been taken down by all markets.

    Even better, one link goes to a Google Malware warning page.

  17. The fact that he picked a King story in this case shows that he cannot be overly bright- despite being a law student. What is unsettling is that I am sure he has been doing this for a while, no doubt with less mainstream writers. This simply curdles my blood.


  18. Thanks for all of your comments, everybody. This is just an ugly and disturbing thing.

    Everybody is focusing on the fact that he is plagiarizing Stephen King, which is truly stupid and despicable. But he is also stealing from other writers. New writers. Writers that you and I pal around with. Writers who don’t have the clout to take him down. This is why I encourage you to see if your own work shows up under somebody else’s name. He’s not discriminating; he’s an equal opportunity thief.

  19. To re-iterate some of the comments I made over on Angel’s site (great research job by him, BTW…he should win a lunch with Stephen King for this):

    You can still get into the backend of Valentine Publications, although the data is being deleted very quickly: http://valentinepublications.com/index.htm . As of last night, Mathew Shackleton and Rudyard were listed as co-founders, but that info seems to be gone now. (UPDATE: The whole index page is gone now) Shackleton has been quoted as saying that he has been friends with Ridyard for ten years (since Ridyard was eleven, presumably). Long time for someone to hold a pseudonym, yes? Also a long time to dup a close friend. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

    VP has a Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=129276508730)(UPDATE: said FB group is now gone as well) admin’d by Matthew Shackleton (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=575431633)(UPDATE: also gone now) and a woman from Manchester, but, suspiciously absent as a member is his business partner Richard Ridyard. Mr. Ridyard, you will find, has no discernible internet presence at all. (UPDATE: Col Bury mentioned that he found a Richard Ridyard at http://www.liverpoolcollege.org.uk/1466/a-level-results.html …it’s a preparatory school for kids < 18, but it is possible…I remain skeptical)

    That’s all I’ve found in my cursory research. Should I find more info, I’ll update.

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  22. I don’t think the rest of us have to worry TOO much. My guess is Stephen King’s publishers have an excellent legal team and Mr. Ridyard is going to be up to his plagiarized asterisk in alligators.

  23. I hope you’re right, Lee!

    I don’t know whether or not this is something that Mr. King wants to pursue. For the sake of “the little people” involved, it would certainly be a dream if King came riding in on a fire-spewing dragon while waving his considerable clout around. But if not, at least the writing community at large can introduce a completely new villain into our WIPs.

  24. It is such a shame that there are people in the world who do these things. Writing is part of a writer’s heart, so stealing a writer’s work is the same as ripping their heart out.

  25. WOW! It’s like Stephen King’s Secret Window jumped out of the big screen and came to life! Why do people do things like this? Do they REALLY think they won’t get caught?

  26. Hi Steve,

    Thank you for your comment and the details. I chose to delete it because I don’t want you or I to be held liable in case this individual isn’t who he appears to be. However, I’ll pass the info up the chain of command. You are extremely appreciated! 🙂

  27. Re: Steve’s note…I noticed that too, but I assumed that (name redacted) was listed under the domain of the webhost/registrar. I have several domains in my name, and often the registrar will keep their contact name listed as the tech/admin contact. FYI.

  28. Pingback: Fiction writer plagiarist tip: Don’t steal from Stephen King « Pursuances

  29. You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the
    work you write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. At all times go after your heart.

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