Friday, 14 August 2015

S. A. Swaffington is a plagiarist

The self-published novelist S. A. Swaffington (aka Ryan West) has become something of a recurring topic on this blog. Back in April I wrote a post about his history as a neo-Nazi propagandist, demonstrating in the process that he had been using a sockpuppet account to praise his own work on Amazon; his less-than-eloquent response to this was to call me a racist paedophile.

Now, the saga continues: I have evidence that S. A. Swaffington is a plagiarist.

Look at the cover of Swaffington's latest novel, Hengist & Horsa: The Wrath of the Gods (in case he alters the cover, I've archived the Amazon page here):

Something seemed fishy to me. The illustration's nice, but the design is very amateurish - he's just clumsily slapped some Arial text over the picture. This made me wonder who provided the illustration, and whether or not they approved of its usage here.

Turns out that Swaffington did a pretty rotten job of covering his tracks. Within a few minutes I was able to trace the source of the image: it is a piece of publicity art for a computer game called Mount & Blade, developed by a Turkish company called TaleWorlds:

Incidentally, the warriors depicted are not Anglo-Saxons; they are apparently "Nords", a fictional Viking-like tribe invented by the developers of the game which takes place in an imaginary world called Calradia. It is amusing that Swaffington - a supposed historian - has confused an historical people with a fantasy tribe from a video game, but this kind of thing is fairly common in the Englisc nationalist movement: see here, here and here for other examples.

I also noticed this promotional image on Swaffington's Facebook page:

This, too, originates from Mount & Blade:

I decided to take a look through Swaffington's past work and see if I could identify any more plagiarism. I was not disappointed.

In 2012 Swaffington published a book entitled Anglo-Saxon Trolls, Wights, Faeries, Orcs & Other Supernatural Creatures. This is no longer available on Amazon, but still has a page on Goodreads:

The cover image is obviously stolen from Gnomes, a 1976 book by the Dutch team of Poortvliet and Huygen. My library has a copy, so I was able to scan the relevant portion:

Swaffington appears to have later republished his book with a new title and cover:

This time, the cover illustration was... erm... borrowed from the cover to Robin Bates' book How Beowulf can Save America (I believe that the illustrator is Chris Kelb):

Then we have an earlier book in Swaffington's Hengist & Horsa series, The Scourge of the Gods. Swaffington has since changed the cover, but the original cover design can be seen on Goodreads:

Swaffington seems to be very proud of this cover art, as he has it as his Twitter avatar:

This time, the image comes from an artist who is known on DeviantArt as "Arrsistable" (and is, incidentally, an American - funny how this patriotic English author has relied so much on the work of foreign artists):

Seriously, did Swaffington actually believe that nobody would notice any of this?

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