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The Verdict V.2

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  05:05:30  14 October 2004
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On forum: 07/31/2003

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The Verdict 2

7 months ago, there is a thread named "The Verdict" that exists to try to introduce some of the good qualities stories that exists in the contest, instead of relying on the bloody Top Ten scoreboards. Well, yes, or - a few, the author can say he read all of the stories in the contest.

But over the last 7 months, more stories have been added, more development has occured... and the most important, the author has gained more experience in judging for stories.

Now it is time for a come back - the Verdict 2 (putting on the shades now)

The role of the verdict has not change, as mentioned. It is still to showcase top stories of the contest, out of the 150 that exists right now. These stories will be painstakingly read one by one, a 6-7 week's project by the author himself. Then, well, the hall of fame will be introduced.

But this is The Verdict 2, there will be some changes now. One of the major one is the top 25 stories. These stories will be selected not by the author alone, but another 2 co-authors (sorry, they are already chosen) and ultimately the members of the forum.

Let's get started then. BTW - forget about amoki's revenge. There's a cliche these days about the sequel of most stories and games are about revenge. For one: Yuri's Revenge...

Finalists - stories that get chosen on first screen (a.k.a things with the right stuff)

1) Kiss it goodbye- think tank
2) Live cargo - guy shoot but die
3) Me and my AK
4) Yuri- True Orb
5) Lonely night
6) No title andy killian
7) No time to die
8) Dead Wait
9) The Zone is a desease
10) Elena Rudneva
11) Sergey series
12) A Blind Dog
13) Outsider 's story
14) Soul Reaper
15) The well
16) Family
17) Long Way down the hill
18) memory
19) A new arrival
20) The best laid plan
21) He who dares wins
22) Deadly misfortunes
23) Sasha Petrovich
24) Heart of the zone
25) Resonance Alignment
26) Look at me, I'm dead!
27) Journal of Ludwig
28) Three hours
29) Stalker chronicles
30) Pilgrimage
31) This is the diary of Janus Andrimov
32) New to the land
33) A curious destiny
34) A mutant's salvation
35) This is the story of a boy with 3 bullets in his hand
36) The Boy
37) 7 day journal
38) things that go bump in the night
39) Kill or be killed
40) Ragss - no title
41) Shagrath the unknown newbie savior
42) Home to stay
43) Obsidian
44) The difference between you and me
45) The inhuman condition
46) Geneva
47) Fool's Gold
48) suRVIVal
49) Remember
50) Alone
51) Bad Logic
52) A piece of the puzzle
53) No escape
54) through the eyes of a sniper
55) fallen
56) Narrow House
57) Crystalline Siblings
58) There is no Blue birds in the Zone
59) The Black Squad
  09:52:00  14 October 2004
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modus operandi

To get into finalist group - any story with any worthy plot will do

To get into top 25 - stories must fit these criteria, list according to priority
1) plot
2) setting - must know the location of Chernbyl, and Ukraine. Must be related to STALKER game world, or at least have a big portion related to it. As during the time of writing (hey, I am one of the authors, I KNOW), the situation of Ukraine's position in the game is uncertain (most of us know now though), both Communists Ukraine and Republic of Ukraine are accepted. Vehicles, weapons and setting must also be according to game's world as pre-stated in the website.
3) Characterization - emotions, thoughts, things that make the character human. The more exotic the character, the better.
4) Style and dialogue - how the work is carried out, tension of the story overall and how the dialogue is planned. Example - When you have a Russian who becomes a stalker when his family is poor but somehow can speak like an American, something is wrong. Prefect English is acceptable, but not slangs.

Language/spelling is NOT essential for me and my co-authors. This is a story writing competition, this is not a international spelling bee and grammar competition. In my opinion, whoever judges a story by grammar and spelling instead of the whole plot is a bloody pervert. Remember - this writing compeition is a multi-national one - we have participants from the US, the UK, Holland, Germany, Ocenia area and even a couple from Asia. English standard differs area to area, so it is unfair to judge someone's language capability according to your own standards. But bear in mind that if your story has too much spelling mistakes, you will be virtually digging your own hole. To add that if your English capability is not good enough, you probably have problem expressing your plot, which in turn affects the way your story is judged. So the authors don't need to worry about their grammar and spelling be judged - as long as your story can be understood, you are good to go.

The criteria is strict as you can see.

Ranking method - I'll be using the 'gradualism' method. The stories will be compared to each other and 'stacked' upon each other according to the quality of each story. The distinction between stories should be quite clear when the 25 stories are out.

Each story will be presented by rank, along with a strict review. These reviews are NOT MEANT TO BE NICE, be warned- every piece of the story has and will go through microscopic scrutiny, and every minor mistake will get your story killed. These are the top 25 stories' reviews, these are not constructive comments/criticism logs as what we usually do around this forum. Be well-prepared for potentially aggressive attacks if your story is in the top 58 lists. But on the other hand - remember, if you DO see these reviews, you are at the top 25 according to amoki

Stories that are not read/judged:
1)The Old man - Visser - Sentence structure is too problematic to be understand. There is no way I can understand yoru story as it is meant to be... and I read it twice! I only manage to understand part of it. Sorry.
2) Amos - My first work. Sucks big time. Not worth my own time reading. Hard to say this, but I have to be really realistic.
3) My STALKER memoir cont'd series - same as above. Too freakin' long, not worth my time reading. What can I expect - my very own amateur work No wonder no one ever reads it
4) Prey of One, Predator of another - you have to be someone with a real interest and lots of patience to sit down and read this one. There is no doubt about its quality, but the major problem is wading through about 100 pages of fanfic. This is the longest story in the contest. No, I cannot read it, not when I have so much stories to read through.

'Crystaline Sibling' is judged based on memory. The rest of the stories have been read by me. Any other story not posted at the official website BUT handled by me are either being read or already been read. Changes will be made when appropiate.

Total story read up-to-date - 152 - a few

This selection for top 25 winners is going to be hard. Very hard. I have problems trying to sort out who's who . It is going to take a while to compile the full list, but when it is out, I believe that everyone will be happy with the real position they are at instead of the result from the top ten billboard.
  20:35:10  12 December 2004
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Prelude - getting the facts right

1) This list of my own top 25 serves as an introduction to the general public to the literary contest in the STALKER website. It is quite tough when you have 150 stories to read and you don't know how to start.
2) This list is created also to counter the Top 10 in the website as a more reliable source of how top stories should look like. IMO, the Top Ten in the billboard is basicially screwed- I can explain it with voting trends and how you can exploit the voting system via IP. See disclaimer first though.

Of course, let's not forget that I'm trying to get some votes for those old stories which only have a rating of 5.60 but should be winning the contest

Disclaimer -
1) This is not the official result of the contest. The official result will be displayed at the official website in due time. Do not get confused.
2) Please understand that this list is made via humans, not machines . As such, there might be bias and inaccuracies regarding details of the stories. I would like to apologize to that before-hand
3) The list is in ranking order. However, the ranking may not be accurate as it should be for some stories. If you do find cases like this, you are free to convince me that I should change the rating for the stories... via the forum message board. I don't care if you are the bastards from the STALKER contest forum who attack from the back. If you want me to change the ranking, I have to have credibility from you.
  20:56:14  12 December 2004
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Terms you might find in the review

1) Plot - no-brainer really

2) Chracterization - 'Human' factor that is in the story. Basically, it is what make your chacter so special and stands out from the rest.

There are about 4 classes of chracterization:
I) background - you only provide the life details of the main chracterers minor chracters. For example - nationality. Very basic stuff
II) History - Slightly more advance then the basics- the main character has a history. Most common is why he came to the Zone.
III) Personal - You can follow the main character's flow of thoughts, and emotions. The authors who created these stories put in a ton of effort for this. Probably what you would be seeing in the top 20 really, because without this, the stories are plain generic Those who take it one step ahead would have chracter motication in their story.
IV) Speech - probably the rarest - only found in 2 cases in this contest, and they happened to be in the top 5.. The speech really shows you which characters are talking. Probably uses of foreign swears *in this case Russian* , to make the character's identity more solid.

In rare cases, no-name-face is chracterization itself.

The point of chracterization is to make the chracters more interesting, to make the characters something that is not what you encounter in everyday life.

Setting - everything related to The Zone. Basically the stage which the 'actors' of the stories dance and play. In this review, setting includes the historical background information, weapons, artefacts, zone anomalies and vehicles. Top stories would have had follow the given setting right, and if you swayed you would be penalized. However, towards the top 10, it would have been near-impossible to follow everything given in the website without being branded "generic". You would be finding that a lot of authors who created the top 10 stories would be taking off with their imangination. This is allowed in my context- as long as your stories correlates wit "The Zone", your good to go

Style- probably how fluid your story is. "Fluid" is how smooth reading can be. While, as pre-stated, I do not go for grammar and spelling mistake, sometimes reading can be a hassle when you get these errors. Especially when your story and plot is reallllyyy good. If you have near-zilch amount of errors, reading your work should be smooth, hence a higher praise in style

I have laid the foundation for The Verdict V.2. Tomorrow, I should post the top 25 to top 20. Every 2 days, I would be posting 5 stories, because the whole top 25 review is a very long thing, and I doubt that if I was to post everything in one go, it would not have deserve the attention it gets
  12:21:33  13 December 2004
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25 - 21

(25) A new arrival
Story genre – a stalker adventure
Plot – Stalker adventure (or rather misadventure)

Story – This story has just the bare basics. Not really that good. although it is good quality. It has a simple plot, simple adventure, simple… eh, death. But what make this story special in my opinion is that this story does give you the “Zone” feel, about how dangerous a new stalker can be. Just bare basics, and the character that the author decided to use doesn’t really allow for advance characterization, which literally means the author was digging his own hole. But still, it is a good short story.

Shortfall- generic. It is too generic. As I have mentioned – a simple plot. Too simple in fact, that its plainness (do not mistake this with incomplete plot) makes it so special itself. I would have recommended a more complex plot though, because the author does posses the ability to do a better story with a better plot.

Overall – short simple story that is ergonomic in sense of time, and brings in moderate reading pleasure. Should worth your read.

Overall rating -
1) Plot - 2/5. Somewhat too simple.
2) Characterization - 3/5. No-name-face character is a novelty. Archived Class III characterization.
3) Style - 3/5. Its okay. No obstructive reading error, near perfect reading flow
4) Setting - 4/5. Fits all Zone setting given. Somewhat generic though, with controllers.

What others had said:
1) Ian_C : I like the story, it's tight and well-controlled… I know all too well how difficult it can be to create 'interesting' characters which keep the reader's attention, and there certainly is a place for the 'unidentified man fights for his life but loses' plotline, as it shows the cheapness of life in the zone, but please don't act as though that's the only plotline that's possible with what we've been given.

2) Duncan Gavin: I dunno man, it seems to follow the same "nameless guy kills, get killed" story without much depth. I'm sorry Amos, there's no plot here, aside that it's a rich kid who buys his way into the zone and gets capped. *shrug* But Jon, it IS a good first attempt, and we do all write these kind of stories, at least at the beginning. So, don't be discouraged. Come read the forums; there's plenty of good advice floating around. DO keep writing! You can only improve through practice.

3) Taco : A very good story. Well written, but incredibly short. It wouldn’t have hurt to put some more of the gun battle in there. On the other hand, like the others said, it is very difficult to write a story that is well written without droning on and on. Great job all a round. Keep Writing! Rating:7

4)Wadakka - Not Bad, You have a good start here, however, there's not enough, flesh-out the character ie. motivatoins, where's the mood of the setting, and minor punctuation fixes, great start, you can do more and better...

5) Morph - It's a start.... no something very good... you'll get a 4 from me, because of the lenght of the story, and the lack of depth. Also, I totally agree with Ian_C... GSC gave us something really vast to experiment with... I think that this story is the 1st thing that could come into the mind of a 10-year-old when you tell him about stalkers and the dangers of the zone... no offense, but you could have done something waaay better

Link -

(24) Look at me, I'm dead!
genre- thought-provoking, stalker's philosophy of life
Plot - unsummarizable

review- this story is similar to 'kill or be killed', only more better done.

Basically, I love the style this story is written. The events are run in parallel between the HQ and the stalker. The dialogue is also interesting. The story is long, but you don't really care too much once your reading condition is good. Charaterization is good too - you can feel the frustration of the main character along the way.

However, the author got the setting all wrong- the part about Zone details especially, among others. To my understanding, the developers made clear of The Zone's background. However, there are also early previews from Gamespy (I think) dated near to 2002 that mentioned corporation involvement. Under these circumstances, I sympathize with the author, but have to stick to the rigid rules I have set in judging. Under these circumstances I have to penalize the story... but being in the top 25 means it is top of the crop. Congrats, you earned it.

Personal remark - story contains excessive violence. Readers' discretion advised.

Overall rating:
1) Plot - 2.5/5. No real plot present, but plot flow is good IMO
2) Characerization - 4/5. Solid characterization, perhaps Class III. A lot of thoughts and emotions written down.
3) Style -3/5. Good wirting style. Some obstructive spelling errors present (author is Italian ), but author still manage to produce the melancholic feel.
4) setting - 1/5. Should have scored 0.5, but gave sympathy mark for the guy.

What others had said –
1) Mussolini - This stunning masterpiece wraps its juicy tendrils around your reeling subconscience and won't let go. It is a fitting antidote for 'Alone', which ------------. Ciao.

2) Red - Excellent work. Top drawer thriller keeps you guessing till the end. Anyone who gives this less than a '9' is a raving asshole of epic proportions.

(-) [author no.2] - I had a lot of fun when thinking about the fact that the soldiers at the camp could only see a video of Kowalski dying, so if you look with their eyes you would not know what's really happening until the end...and that makes it special.

link -

(23) Outsider's story
story genre - horror, survival
Story description- 3 friends on their last mission before leaving The Zone for good.

Review- Big part of the plot blotched by no planning.

On first read, the story appears just fine- fantastic plot and interesting characters. However, when closely examined, you will find holes. A few of the place to look at - why their Plane went in the Zone the first Place when the Airline company Knows of the dangers AND that no rescue ops will be mount when the aircraft crashes? There are others. Together, these little details completely kill your enjoyment for the story. Even stories with slightly worse grammar and spelling than this one doesn’t bother me as much.

Characterization is just as bad. A stalker who can't go home because he had shed blood? Not only so, but he never discuss it with his friends? Okay, psycho. Does the author have an idea what a psycho behaves? Psychos cannot act well, that’s for a start. And somehow those closest to Michael are not intelligent to notice even though 1 of them is a med student.... I am not a med student, I can tear this story apart. Such irony.

The story only gets here because of the surprise ending, which I did take into account. There is absolutely no whatsoever hint from the story that suggests the ending at all, fir which I find kind of entertaining.

This story is nowhere near the top, but it’s a start, to the top 25. And being taken into consideration by me as a top 25 story, I think this story deserve some recognition. Overall, you would find it enjoyable, if you are willing to turn a blind eye (and you hands almost cover the other eye) on this story.

Overall rating:
1) Plot - 3/5. STALKER adventure is too common in the contest, but I like his ending twist.
2) Characterization - 2/5. Bland. All charactera have background history, but that's it. The way they came to The Zone is too absurb to be accepted as being a good STALKER fanfic IMO.
3) Style - 3/5. Pretty much standard. However, it is pretty fluid, as there is a lack of obstructive spelling mistake.
4) setting - 2.5/5. All setting is correct.

What others had said –
1) Goodspeed - Well written. I see you've spent some real effort on getting the text just right. No grammar of spelling errors and good paragraphing. Very pleasant to read. I have only two comments, one minor, one major. The minor is that you should break up long and complex sentences into two or three separate ones. It does not change anything, but makes it a lot more easier to read.</p> <p>The major is that I noticed a lack of plot. The text has a story, but no tension or mystery to keep the readers attention, you know what I mean? But for the rest, good job, very good job

2) Yulia - This story is good for what it is, good structure and no mistakes I could find, but it is far too typical and lacking of plot. Spice it up a bit with or of a solid plotline and a little more implication or mystery. It is bland right now. That's all I have to say.

3)McQuaide - Thoroughly enjoyable... Just enough of the characters were established enabling the reader to acquire a glimpse of each of their own particular characteristics which gave credence to their surviving The Zone. A believable "team effort". The Epilogue graphically depicts the necessary brutal behavior one may acquire in such an environment, consisting of life changing events which lead the character Mike to deceive his team mates. It added greatly to the tale, displaying the severity such conditions and events could have on anyone. I rated it a 9. Nice job Uwasa.

4) Lord OverideX - Beautiful Story, loved the ending. I love the simplicity of it and I find that most people couldn't pull off a story with an effort of keeping it simple. Very well done. I hope to see you in the top 10. I highly give this a 10!


(22) Alone
story genre- stalker survival
plot - a stalker encounters a zombie....

review: Straight up? Entertaining story. There is not much of a plot since it is simple, but there is tension throughout the story. Short clipped sentence constant feelings and thoughts of the protagonist really makes you want more.

But only so, I'm afraid.

For a start there is no real plot. The focus is good, but the whole thing is just a 'zombie-stalker' story, nothing out of the ordinary. And most stories in the contest has either zombie and controller or Blind dogs. I need something fresh. I WANT something fresh.

Of course, there are other reasons why this story is positioned THIS low. The technical reference and details of this story are lousy done. My biological knowledge tells me no body/corpse can last 6 months and still able to walk straight. As for technical reference, the 'controller' stuff is largely ignored. In fact, you don't hear a lot about the controller at all. And heck, for some reasons the controller decided to play with its food... last time I checked controllers can still mind control. This is almost ignored.

Characterization definitely need some work. Too ordinary. You can use John and Ben for the characters name and it doesn't make a real difference. And to be honest, the “history” the author provided is really generic. I want something fresh. Put in interesting history, add quirks and oddity.

Overall? Fast paced fanfic. Not the very original type, but certainly not the generic type that is to be ignored.

Clarification – On behalf of the author, I would like to testify and say on behalf of Chode that he did not cheat. I had checked all the comments and arguments he had put down, and it is too inconsistent for someone who would cheat. Also, I believe that Chode would not be that psychotic enough to ‘switch’ personality without a slip, hence I arrived at a conclusion that there is indeed a third party involved, and somehow he jacked up the votes for Chode for no reason. However, I will not deny that his position is not unfair to other participants. This is a unique dilemma, because taking a forceful step for this story would either hurt Chode or the other participants. However, if GSC did ask for my opinion, I’ll endorse this story. The same way I will endorse those in the top 25.

Overall rating:
1) plot - 2/5 - Generic zombie tale, with a slight twist.
2) characterization - 2.5/5. Okay. Somewhat ordinary character history.
3) style - 4/5 - I like his tension that is build up along the story. The author has the "fight for life" impression in his story. Well done.
4) settting - 2/5. Just standard Zone setting, but slightly off the line because no controller is mentioned.

What others had said-
1) Tepper - Your story has a very good feeling to it; you set the mood very well. The story seemed very introverted. The ending was appropriate to David's journey that was not only physical, him fleeing this creature but also an emotional journey. However I would like to see what you can do with the actual writing, essentially this story is not marketable the writing is still to green, too amateurish. You have the imagination the heart but you now need to work more on the technical aspects of writing, the description, word usage, etc. Develop your own style... Over all though I liked it very much..
2) JHaas - A true classic, just like the painting of the 5 dogs playing poker…. Decent, if not slightly obvious, plot rendering. As with most of these, the syntax feels forced, resulting in somewhat pretentious prose throughout
3)DoomBat- I think this is an excellent story, but the wrestle over #1 seems to be too much for some people. I consider this one the best of stories in top10.
4) I like it! - I don’t know what is wrong with being generic. The idea has been used before but that is because it is a great idea. You could not be generic and write about a ballerina who decided to change his ways of sissy to stalker, but that just wouldn’t be any fun. PS Death to Amos, the asshole who put everyone down in the forums
5) E - I liked it, you handle the subjective very well and although the character development is a little weak I think you did an excellent job at writing an entertaining story that has some nice ideas. I do feel however that the entire back story about the childhood was a little...generic.

link -

as the version in the website is almost unbearable to read:

(21) Deadly misfortunes
Genre – misadventure?
Plot – unsummarizable

Review- This story is certainly above-average standard, and that means a lot to me. It is action packed, for one. Good style too. The author also didn't thread into unfamiliar grounds, which is a very common flaws among contestants. Good job on that.

But there are too many flaws.

For characterization, there is nothing really special about it. Kim, the main character has no identity. No nationality, no identity, no nothing. If you haven't notice yet There are plenty of STALKER characters in the contest, so many that if I mentioned them now, a lot of them would not be recognized. What makes this character that special? In my opinion- nothing. The characterization is bland. No special stuff about this character.

Also, it almost seemed pointless to read this story, despite its above-average story. The story looked like a book opened and ended in an instant. Link the introduction and the ending, and you will get what I mean. It is almost that this story serves no purpose at all, add that the ending is a cliffhanger. But all this is probably due to the nature of the story itself.

Overall? Just an above-average story, but if it is good enough to be recommended by me, you should read it too.

Overall rating:
1) plot- 2/5. STALKER adventure is a littel bit too much in the conte
2) character - 3/5 - is sorta good IMO, fully developed character.
3) style- 2.5/5 standard.
4) setting - 2.5/5 standard.

What others had said –
1) Tim - This to me was a well thought out story. His thoughts tie in what happens later, and it seems like everything was connected together. Like the dark Fig, might have been the controller. Things like that make the story even better. Great job!

2) Rodd Buhlig - Very very well done. Honestly, the attention to detail was excellent. Highest marks.

3) Jeff - Hey, I like the action and the use of surprise, this story got me, no doubt, there is no way you'd ever get the ending, Great story, gave it a 9

4) PSX - great action in every single line, nice shocker at the end! I almost felt as if I were in the avatar's position at that moment

  05:14:03  16 December 2004
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(20) No title andy killian
Genre – memoir
Plot – memoir of a stalker sick with his life

Review – this story is much better off that “Look at me, I’m dead.”

There is not much of a “real” plot to be honest, as this is a character-driven story. Not touching that. What I am going to touch, however, is the style. Great narration done by the author. I love the general melancholic style created by the author, which coincides perfectly with the mood of the story in general. You definitely have to read it to understand what I meant, but after you read it you definitely know, and like, what I meant. Also, there is plenty of evidence to support that this story got fantastic characterization. The main character has an identity, and that’s good enough for me to say its good.

The sad thing with this story is… the plot isn’t really that interesting compared with the other stories on the top. Just a stalker killing himself in the end, and killing in the process. There are stories with better flow of plot despite its genre. It is just like comparing bread with pizza, and the bread happens to be this story in this case. Nevertheless, at this position, I think the author can take console in the fact that this story is among the best there is.

Warning – contain excessive violence. Viewer’s discretion advised.

Overall rating:
1) plot- 2/5 - character-based, and very nice because the story starts immediately with the "lousy" feeling of the main character, a good prelude to this story.
2) character - 3/5. Good. A lot of emotions and thoughts written down, and history of character is provided.
3) Style - 3/5 - melancholic mood, well written
4) Setting - 2/5 - pretty standard, nothing of preculiar.

What others had said about the story-
1) k>oZ - I like this story primary for its stylistic qualities. Sometimes monologue can become pretty boring, when the action is missing. You escape that problem with a great drama in the end and I consider the reason as recognizable.

2) Warsa W - I liked this story. Yesterday I saw the advertise on main site, then wrote my story, sent it, and then i came here to see the other stories: since i am reading the other stories, this one is the first high score i signed until now...but just a thing i think it's a big plot downside and ruin the whole: the reasons explained to me are not enough for a suicide. This keeps the score really lower than the one i could possible's all bet on the suicide twist, but in a place so lonely like the zone, the suicide is not so original as a thought if explained this way. That’s because if we suppose the character will die, just 3 options are there, suicide, omicide, accident. That’s why you had to really put something more on it. The wife? the tension ? the solitude? a man that tries this mission must have already be psychologically prepared for it before entering, so why would it commit suicide?

3)Refardeon - A very, very good story indeed! It really makes you feel into the atmosphere of the game, and it really features the loss of sanity and humanity while facing the invisible demons of something unknown yet hostile

4) G-man - The story was... to be blatantly honest (as I hope you all are with my story when I submit it), was not exceptional in any way. It was easy to read, and flowed well, from event to event, but was pockmarked by gramatical and spelling errors. This trhew the rythm off for me. The grotesque details of the "gutting" of his "prey" seemed a bit unecessary, if not morbid. That information could have been left up to the reader's imagination, thus heightening the drama and suspense. The ending, however, was most distressing. He arrived at the conclusion that he must take his own life far too quickly; not to mention the act itself was done with such deliberation and hastiness that the full impact of the deed was not able to sink into the readers' mind adequately. It ruined the story for me. Otherwise, it painted a very dark and menacing picture of the bleak world I am sure we all see…. I would also consider revising the part of your story concerning the Children of the Atom, and how the narrator profers them his flesh. It seems to literal for the rest of the story, and the tone which it would seem you are trying to convey. It is also rather ghoulish (though this may be your intent), and in my honest opinion, detracts from the enigma of the atmosphere by adding unnecessary gore. Suspense and terror are often different in the minds of different people, and to lay down this blatant "scare factor", detracts from the unknown (which is ultimatley the true thriller). G-man

5) Adam Ingle - I was thoroughly enjoying the story up until the end. It was an excellently written story all around, on a much higher literature level than most. The ending just seemed a little forced, like you were running out of time to write it and had to end it quick. It just seemed a little false at the end.

Link -

(19) Geneva
story genre- stalker adventure, action
plot- "enemy at the gates" type sniper story

review - a potentially successful story marred by tactical errors, and with loose ends.

Yes, this story has potential. The plot is derived from generic sniper tales, into something not so generic. I like the way the tale is weaved, and how the tension is done. Also, the no-name-face characterization is superb- there isn't a lot of tale in the contest using no-name-face. Bravo, creative. And I would say the author has great focus – no side-tracked at all along the story. Everything he put down has relevance to the story.

Sadly... it is marred by errors too, and a lot of mistakes loose ends. The biggest mistake- why would a target run in broad daylight without being shot? Not only so, but this Geneva character... if she is hunting and sniping, why is she playing a violin? And when she is playing a violin, why wouldn't the stalker leave and finish her off? These are left unanswered.

Characterization needs more work. Particularly with Geneva Why is she having a standoff with the antihero, but didn't finish him off when she has the chance? And the no-name-face... why when the author decided to let his main character to have no name, he also wants us to know his history, the SpecOps experience he had.

Also, the story does posses some obstructive errors. Spelling is a slight problem especially. Not that I go for that kind of thing, but spelling does jelp

Overall, a story with potential, but just need slightly more work.

Overall rating:
1) plot - 3/5. Interesting story, no doubt.
2) character - 3/5. Interesting characters, though needs more work. Particularly with Geneva, since she is the title of the story.
3) style - 3.5/5. I like the way that tension was present in the story, but there are obstuctive spelling mistakes grammar mistake that reduce the ability for a smooth read,
4) setting -3/5. Above standard, due to the Geneva character itself as a Zone inhabitant. Also, this story takes place in the deserted buildings in the city, an Urban area. Rare combat situation in the fanfic

what others had said:
1) NoRemorse- I liked the story. It was good, and suspenseful. I couldn't help but notice many of the grammar mistakes and some spelling in it though. I kept hearing repetative words in many sentences. Such as: "He scanned the building with his scope, the beads of rain gathering on his scope. The stalker wiped the drops off and glared into the scope, carefully surveying the potentially..." 'It' should have been used more. Or when you referred to him as the 'heartless stalker.' New words would have been approprirate or at least 'he' would work in many cases. But it is a great story, and it always left me wanting to know what happened next.

2) Goodspeed - An interesting story with a cat & mouse play between snipers, yet plagued by errors (forgiveable), clichés and plain illogic. The good side is that there is good research on Pripyat, good mood-setting by means of photographs and scarce food & water. Yet it is hampered by the following: 1) sentence construction is always the same. 2) past & present is mixed up. 3) Repetition of words. 4) If the stalker is only interested in getting rich quickly, how come he’s spend years and years in the zone? 5) Badass stalker comes to zone to kill is a really bad cliché. And things are clearly done for the sake of plot, not logic. 6) Why, after nights of total darkness and rain, does that idiot cross the street in broad daylight?!!? 7) How does he know the sniper is a woman? It could’ve been a man camping in a woman’s apppartment. 8) In STALKER, Pripyat is an abandoned ghost town. No one could live there anymore. 9) You cannot cock a rifle. All in all a good effort, but it needs a lot of rework. [Note to Goodspeed- you CAN cock a rifle. Cocking refers to the "cocking sound when using a rifle, such as pushing the bolt after reloading a full magazine to push the bullet in. Or pull the bolt while taking a bullet in in a bolt-action rifle. Just to make that clear]

Link -

(18) Yuri- True Orb
Genre- stalker philosophy
Plot- unsummarizable

Review – Stories keep getting better and better now. This is one of the best stories, for its genre (because there isn’t a lot of stories of this genre)

There isn’t too much of a plot, for a start. This story is more thought-based, so I am not going to touch on the flow of storyline. But the plot itself isn’t really what gets the story here- characterization is.

Characterization is above average. Basically, there is not a lot of character involved, which is probably advantageous to the author. The whole story is focused on characterization (thought-based after all), and it is quite lovely to watch the main character argue with himself philosophically on the dilemma of a stalker’s life.

Style is above-average. Fluent flow of language makes reading easy and an enjoyable process. Also, the involvement of little violence should be a welcoming break for any veteran of this contest. It did for me, and that’s why I have good opinions of this story.

The main setback for this story? Setting. The Zone in the author’s head is not the same as the one we are going to play in. For a start – the woman and the girl. It seems pretty much out of place, those two. Zone is a very dangerous place, and what is such a place for a defenceless woman and a girl clutching a teddy bear when guys, bad guys with guns of course, and mutants roaming around? Definitely goes under the label “off-topic”, although not very much. But still, if that problem was fixed, this story would have worth a higher rating.

Overall, an above-average story, worth recommending if violence is not your cup of tea.

Overall rating:
1) plot - 3/5- character-based, but actually well-done because of its unpredicatability.
2) character - 4/5 - very well done
3) style - 3/5. Detailed thoughts and emotion expressed. Good one, although the author might do better by giving the history of "Yuri" itself.
4)setting - 1/5. Not good. The Zone is a dangerous place, not for woman and children. No mention of Zone lifeform, only "stalkers". Although I have no suggestion for improvement though.

What others had said:
1) Minty - I like it. Good writing (Humility and Malevolence- real book?). Very emotional piece. Maybe the emotion would be enhanced by it being in the first person, I'm not sure. Keep up the good work!

Link -

(17) Elena Rudneva
genre – stalker adventure
plot – a stalker in search of a rare plant in The Zone

review – One of the oldies. This story could have done better.

On a personal level, I think the plot is fine. Okay. Standard. Whatever you put it. It is an adventure after all, and somehow I get this feeling that I should categorize the plot under the word “generic”. Why? Stalker looks for something, see dangers, fight dangers. This is roughly the pattern of the story, and this is roughly the pattern of the plot of almost 60% of the contest population. That’s a lot. The plot is too common. However… this is an oldie, like I said, so it is probably that most of them copied this .

Above average for characterization and style. The author used a female character, which makes it rather special. But I do find the character motivation hard to believe… someone who do job for her relative, the scientist, because she likes him so much? A somewhat bemusing motivation for a stalker who goes high and low to work in The Zone, especially when the character is a female. As for style, nothing worth mentioning here, probably just that the author pays attention to a lot of details, making description very specific.

Overall? You standard top-25 fanfic, a story that doesn’t make too much faulty mistake but isn’t too interesting for me to place it much higher. Should worth recommending to those who is looking for an above-average fanfic to read.

overall rating:
1) plot - 3/5 pretty much unpredictable. But the genre is still "adventure"
2) characterization - 2/5. Pretty standard, not a lot of interesting stuff. Also, character seems to be pretty bland.
3) style - 3/5 pretty standard, but I find it quite fluid.
4) setting - 3/5 above standard. Some extra elements that is not in the website present, but acceptable.

What others had said:
1)SA: As mentioned, you have a good grasp of English grammer and structure and a fairly wide vocabulary. You also have a good imagination and are able to translate this onto the page when you write. What you currently lack is a few fundamental writing techniques and structures. I strongly suggest you find someone who can help you with this framework, because without it your writing will always be messy and unsophisticated. You overuse coloquialisms and adjectives, repeat words and don't explain yourself well enough. Unfortunately your work ends up sounding trite and childish although I can see you could be far better than this with the right instruction. Try and find someone with expertise in writing and/or editing to help edit your work and talk with you about it. With the right guidance you could be a very good writer.

2)Kevin M. Beals: Fantastic!! This was one of the best stories that I've read all week, even outside this zone. Stunning work, I give it a "10" despite the fact that rappel was spelled repel (just kidding). All kidding aside, this is some serious work here, and I give great commendation to the author who wrote it. I was wondering, however, about a particular detail in the story. Is the concept of the Controllers an original one, or is this part of the game mythos already in place that we haven't found out about yet because it has not been released? Either way, it was written stunningly, very visceral, very real. It kept me on the edge of my seat, right up until the very end. It makes me wish that I had included more, and more threatening zombies in my story, hahah! Good job!

3) Cuchulain - Very nice you kept the level of suspense high all the way through the story, not just at the moments of action. I also liked the attention to detail, describing particular movements and not just a firing order etc. Hope it doesn't sound to nitpicky but her being not clear of the gravitational pull by flying debris seemed a bit off. Any debris that struck her would have to push her closer to the source, right? Anyway thought the story rocked!! (Amoki: I'm dumb, I didn't observe that one)

4)MArk - Good read, seems to fit the Stalker world nicely. Personally I thought there were a little too many zombies, dealt with little discomfort to her, especially when the other Stalker and the trained soldier couldn't manage it. Zombies on a dark night from all angles when you have fallen asleep might be quite a foe Also I wanted a little more detail in how she handled the first 6 or so Zombies and how they were dispatched - it seemed easy. Anyway the story was great and very enjoyable - thanks !

5) Doctor Atomic - You've definitely got some literary skill, but I don't like this story. You devote a lot of time to describing each scene (and you do it well), but there's essentially no dialogue, and the character is left completely one-dimensional. The story only rises above the level of your average action-hero fan-fiction on the merits of your good grammar and solid storytelling ability; the subject matter itself is pretty dull. I'd definitely like to see you try something that isn't merely "Lara Croft in Russia," as Adam Ingle puts it.

link -

(16) Journal of Ludwig
genre- stalker adventure survival
plot - a clan holding a last stand against their pursuer

review - Now that we are entering the top 16, now we're talking. This story is actually serious fun. The description is superb, and so is the writing style. The author chooses a casual manner to write, which add to the entertaining value of this work.

Unfortunately, the plot is nothing more than a fast-paced action hoo-hah, which exists by the lots out there. Great reading, but not a story you remember when you read a good novel.

Overall rating:
1) plot - 2/5 - stalker adventure. Again.
2) Charaterization - 3.5/5 - actaully quite well done. Most characters have interesting background. Very interesting
3) style - 4/5- Very good, I like the author's informal writing style. It actually make reading it a pleasure
4) Setting - 2.5/5. Standard.

What others had said:
(None )

  06:26:00  18 December 2004
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15 - 11

(15) The inhuman condition (full)
story – stalker survival
Plot – a stalker with history to the Zone investigate an artefact that might make him rich, and there is a lot of interesting development in the process.

Review – a potentially great story that could have had a higher rating, suffering from some plot irregularities and wrong Zone details.

Seriously, I mean it. This story got everything for a great read. The author’s play with word is concise and precise, straight to the point and making every word counts. The plot is interesting, and a lot of development. I love the part when the author actually solved everything in the end, although I have to admit that the plot may be a little too perplexing and may require more read. However, you wouldn’t be disappointed. The plot is absolutely lovely and will definitely hook you up. Interesting twists and struggles and a complete flashback to the main character’s past, and with an ending which tied everything up nice and tidy. Great stuff. Not to mention it has some Class IV characterization (the Scot).

Sounds like stuff worthy being in the top, isn’t it? Yes it is… if you ignored its mistakes.

US military is a big ‘no-go Zone” in STALKER fanfic, and unfortunately the author went there and got himself blew up by a hypothetical mine. USMC in Ukraine? Unlikely. Chernobyl in the game belongs to Communist Russian, just to strike in that point. Anything with the word ‘US military’ gets the boot from me. That’s why even though it is better compared to “Elena Rudneva” in most ways, well, it has been penalized severely for going off-topic. Zone belongs to either the Russian Communists, or the Independent Ukrainians. Sorry, Midnight Rambler..

Also, the problem also goes with the overall tension of the story… the author seems to be doing this story with varying mood. The first part was exceptionally well done, the second one not really that well done- more details and more action could have been included, and basically the cheesy name that make the monster sounds like something from a Japanese RPG game in the end blew away the whole gloomy style of the story (as it is intended as a survival genre story). Third one ties everything nicely. Basically, it is a roller coaster ride from up, to down, then up again. Not really that good compare to the other things at the top.

Of course, at this position, I believe this story deserves its place here and hence, should recommend this story to all if you can find the time to read it. It is a good fanfic, but not a good STALKER fanfic. Sorry.

Overall rating:
1) Plot - 4/5 - interesting story indeed.
2) characterization - 3.5/5 - good characterization. John ayer has full history with the Zone, proper character motivation, etc. Also some speech characterization
3) Style - 3/5. It is actually worthy of a "3.5", but I find the name of the "super-mutant" cheesy. But otherwise, it was above standard. Mixture of moods throughout.
4) Setting - 1.5/5 - screwed. Badly. USMC all over the story. Would have got into the top ten easy if it was Russian or Ukrainian.

What others had said: (for part 1);
1) Ian_C - Quite solid, although there were a few spelling mistakes I noticed and the first, very large, paragraph could do with breaking up a bit. You've got to be careful when you start discussing 'God' and whether he exists in somewhere like the zone for it not to come off as faux pretension - it is sometimes better to allow the reader to come to these conclusions by themselves, through your characters actions and dialogue, rather than flat out saying 'Stalkers have given up hope'. The newbie Stalker felt a bit too much like a character designed to die, so the impact of the end scene was lessened a bit as a result, but it nonetheless was a good setup for a second part. I want to hear more about your main character, his past, what led him to the zone, and what keeps him there, those would be the things I'd advise you concentrate on next - start to reveal who he really is.

2)X5060 - I liked it! But as ian said, the n00b stalker seemed like he was marked for death.

3) Fellowes - Well Midnight, i think this is one of the best stories i have read in a long time. took a bit to get going but at the end i was wanting more. i like the last bit in the house. it seemed to really pull me in more then it just ended. hehe i AM waiting for part 2. i hope it concludes what happened to the other stalker. also like the timeline-survival = 0. good way to think of death.

Link -

Vote link -

(14)through the eyes of a sniper
Story genre : Action narrative
plot- narrative of a sniper

review - there are stories in the contest that are short, sweet. Most of them are flawed. This one is the rare exception- it is near flawless.

Great sniper tale! The plot is tension-packed, and we actually see how a sniper debate with himself before pulling the trigger on whether it is right or wrong to kill an innocent stalker boy... and the writer actually fooled all the readers! Of course there are more at the back, but I think this is the part which is the star attraction of the story.

Technical detail is meticulous. This is the one and only fanfic with the word 'ghillle suit' and 'natural point of aim', all words in the sniping business, appear despite the number of sniper tales in the contest. This is also the only fanfic where winds actually was taken into account during sniping. Fantastic.

The only flaw goes to the narrator, the 'I' character. Why the hell is a ex-Marine (US) doing in the Zone, especially in USSR-controlled region. The character motivation part is the only weakness, but that's it. The rest is near perfect.

Also, there isn’t a lot of plot compared to the stories up ahead – there isn’t a big interesting plot. What drives the story is rather the intense tension presented in the story. So I can’t really put it up to high. This is a not really a flaw, just something to justify why this story’s ranking is slightly lowered.

Great job, Double Edged Sword.

overall ranking:
1) Plot- 3.5/5 - interesting story, but not really that great. Well-researched too. Fresh idea.
2) Character - 3/5 - no-name-face again, but you can really everything the character thinks. Good
3) style - 3.5/5. Good narrative, quite tense, unpredictable.
4) setting: - 2.5/5 - standard.

What others had said:
(none - unposted story )


(13)Me and my AK
Genre – stalker memoir, nostalgia
Plot – a stalker laments the loss of his precious AK.

Review – this story is probably the odd-ball of the contest. Which is a good thing, considering that a lot of STALKER fanfic involves adventure and action. Great to see changes. This story is similar to “Home to stay”, only “Home to stay” is richer in content.

A foreword: this story is more character-driven story then having a “real” plot.

I like the style and the plot of this story! It is very rare to find this two together, but in the case of this story is does. It is pure ingenuity for the author to use the most common thing (the AK) to turn it into an object of interest, a special object that everyone else thinks of it as only ordinary stuff used more commonly as a killing tool. The thumb from me for that one. It is fantastic to actually read it. Also, I like the style that this story is written – a lot of emotions, a lot of feelings. Definitely top class. Characterization is also more or less interesting – the author manage to depict his character NOT as a lean-killing machine, rather than a man with real emotions and feelings. Which is the main essence of the STALKER fanfic characterization.

Alas… despite the raving praises I give this story, some minor things prevented its ascension to a higher rating. The plot isn’t really that interesting to be rated higher, but it is due to the limitation of the story’s nature as a nostalgia memoir. Also, the part about how the AK saved the main character is a little too generic… controller-zombie thingy again. There are things more interesting, like dwarfs, that could have make the encounter more special. Also, the author should have at least hinted to the readers how he lost his AK. That would have added something special to the plot itself.

But overall, a neat work that breaks out from the crowd. My recommendation to all, especially O-L board members

overall rating:
1) plot - 3/5 - character driven plot, not much of an entertaining plot really. Fresh idea.
2) character - 3.5/5 - great. You can actually see everything the main character thinks, and his history with the AK.
3) style - 4/5 - well written, fits perfectly into the nature of the story.
4) setting - 3/5 - above standard, invovles "drinking" experience.

What others had said:
1)doctor atomic - It's an interesting idea, but I think you could have executed it better. The ending was confusing; I had to go back and read through it again to understand. I think that's probably because you used the past tense throughout the entire story, making it hard to tell where each paragraph fell in the whole chronological sequence. You might want to put the bar scenes in the present tense or italicize the flashbacks in order to draw a clearer distinction between them. Other than that, I've just got nit-picky complaints: starting a paragraph with the word "anyway" just looks bad in a short story of this style, and a Russian would never use the word "loco."

2) Szedrencs (Hungary) - Nice story. I liked it very much. I was seeing the whole with my mind's eye. A little bit "film-noire", and a lot melancholic, but excellent. Keep it up.

3) K>oZ - Waqar, I heard that you want to have some negative feedback... well, I am on hand: you cannot expect the reader to know that your story has an intelligent pointed conclusion. What I want to say is, that first of all I doubted the quality of the story, because of its ridiculous title. I am glad having read it though, but the title should have promised more. I liked the story's structure, but the pointed end came too fast. You should have 'celebrated' that a little more. The reader has just got the weapon's importance and right there a pause is missing. Maybe putting it as a question is not factual enough, it is too vague to describe the personal disaster.

4) Jeebus- So you took the David Lynch approach. Bad move..... He made movies like lost highway and Mulholland Drive.

5) matrok - a bit of meaningless story when it comes to the concept and excitement. Too short too. The beloved gun isn't enough to write a story on. Or could be but this isn't that story. Sorry. (good thing it was short so you could read it quickly though ) ... this could be my english essay made in 15 minutes. The shortness reveals that you haven't put much work into it and that can be seen.

Link :

(12) Home to stay
story genre- narrative, slight stalker adventure
plot- A Ukrainian stalker going home after his years in The Zone.


This is my work. For the sake of fairness, I will not comment too much, but I think this story will not be run-of-the-mill. In fact, it is the only STALKER fanfic you can find with this kind of plot. A stalker coming home… this is the only instances whereby a STALKER actually goes home, and best of all, it did not sidetrack because it still is a part of the STALKER game world, just outside The Zone. The STALKER game world is more as a background then the centre stage of this story, and there is actually a twist in the plot!

Characterization is in depth in my own opinion. You can really see the “Farmer Brown” type Ukrainian farmer being severely affected by the Second Blast, which is something often neglected by the authors when instances of this are seen throughout Europe, especially Belarus.

However, in my own opinion, the description varies, from downright cheesy to good at times. I read my own stories using the method I have develop for the other stories. The wording is not really as good compare to other stories on the top, and could have been better done. The description too somehow affect the tension – somehow, when the description is cheesy, the tension turns into a big piece of cheese, but when the description turns serious, i.e when the main character was going to kill himself, the whole story comes to life again.

Really awkward for me to say this, but I think my story is good enough for this place. If you have agreed with my reviews so far, I think you can accept this too. However, I am opened for debate.

overall rating:
1) plot - 3.5/5 - full plot, full open and ending, fresh idea, with twist.
2) character- 3/5- full thoughts and emotions expressed, interesting history, good character motivation.
3) style - 2.5/5 - has obstructive spelling mistakes, cheesy description, but otherwise okay.
4) setting - 3/5 - good. Full description of a stalker's life.

what others had said:
[author no.2] - Call me insane, but this story to me it's really on top of all your other stories, Amos.It follows a period of the life of this stalker that everyones would love to see as a sidestory attached to the game, the moment he come back home.

1)Grisly Silence - Great story Amoki! Definitely a change from the run-of-the-mill Stalker story. Truly enjoyable.

2) Wreek - I thought it was a very good story indeed, espeacailly with the junp from past to present sequences. Nice touch with the detail and descriptions.

3) Kangaroo - Innovative, interesting, sad. A great and touching story. And maybe not as fully fictional as one might think at first glance.

4) θ - Time has not been kind to this story, it still sucks. I haven't seen such perverted diction since 'The Story of O' was translated into Cantonese. I would kill for a happy ending, if you know what I mean

5) Reason - Very similar to reading the ingredients on a food product. The ingredients are all there, thus we know we have a food product. The ingredients are all here as well, unfortunately this isn't a food product (though I could really jump for some cheese filled Combos, they're undeniably yummy) and it shouldn't read like a list of ingredients. Although your ideas are sound, unlike a food product, it isn't always the ingredients that make a story, often it's the style, and your style is somewhat vacant and decidedly dry. But don't worry, your style will start to develop once you pass puberty. By the way, I teach English Lit at the University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. I'd invite you to attend but you'd likely end up in a stew-pot. ( Amoki - there' no cheese in Burkana Faso, American boy)


*the “Home to stay” and “Me and my AK” comparison – why I rate myself a little bit more:
Plot – “Home to stay” is slightly more complex plotwise – more twists and greater ending. “Me and my AK” is more bland, not a lot of changes due to the limitation of its genre.
Setting – “Home to stay” uses STALKER as a background reference, with slight referral to stalker adventure, but “Me and my AK” uses it as the basis of its story itself.
Characterization – “Home to stay” has more character than “Me and my AK”, although they are not stalker world character. “Me and my AK”, however, involves very little character but more stalker world-orientated.

As plot is more to the essence of this literary contest, I decide that my story is slightly more superior to “Me and my AK”. However, readers of both stories are free to argue with me in the fourm.

(11) 7 day journal
Story genre – stalker thriller, espionage
Plot- US government investigate The Zone, so there sent in one of their covert operative. This is his journal

Story review – from the start? Good story, very good one indeed. Normally any story with a slight US relation will get severe hiding from me. Not this one. Definitely worth a read.

This story gives you the ‘Splinter Cell’ feel. The character is a decorated espionage agent, and the author take full advantage of the story’s overall feeling- the mood, the way he writes his journal, etc. Also, the author involves a lot of interesting character. I’ll say this is an entertaining read. The author managed to portray his character up to the requirement and imagination from its readers- the image of a tough, gritty secret agent being sent for the worst. Attention to detail is also meticulous – everything is mentioned, every process is described. Plot development is tough as a nut shell.

But… my opinion is that this story’s characterization is not deep enough. The author involved too many characters for a short story, which really shortens the attention span on each character. Also, the plot is only above-average (okay, above-average is more than good isn’t it?), and the ending is a little bit disappointing to me, but it is due to the limitation of the genre of the story.

I think that this story is capable for more development, but its current state is satisfactory. Good job.

overaal rating:
1) Plot - 4/5 - fresh idea. I liked it a lot. Good story sequence.
2) character - 3.5/5 - main character is very realisitc, but ALL remaining characters are basically ignored.
3) style - 3/5. Only journal-styled story that is well done. Not quirky too in terms of seqeunce.
4)setting - 3/5. Zone setting correct, impression of Zone given as unpredictab;e damgerous. Well done.

What others had said:
1) Matthew De Piazzi : Loved it. Started off a little unsure but by halfway I couldn't stop. You written anything else?

2) (fake) Timothy Croker - It's a good story but you have absolutely no sense of flow. I felt like I was riding a roller coaster while reading it. Your sentence structure is painful.

3) Graham - Good story, but needs a good ending. Curent one is very abrupt

4) Red- A bit like reading the paper. Only worse.
  09:47:27  23 December 2004
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(10) Narrow House
genre – adventure?
plot – how somebody became a (military) stalker

review – The first of top ten. You can expect some interesting qualities this story has.

First of all – a brand-new squeaky-clean plot that no one ever encounter before. Yum – interesting story to read, I must say. It is somewhat hard to believe that this story did actually ends with the main hero becomes a stalker, but that’s the way the author plans to do it, and that’s the way the author ends up with.

The writing style is beautiful. Very fluid narration and description of the whole thing. The author truly has a good command of English in the sense that he is able to construct every sentence into something no-so-common entirely. Almost every sentence is beautifully written, and all of it acts as the story’s attractant. Not that I am gay or something, but that is the case. Definitely a big hit for its style. As for characterization, the author didn’t do so well on that. Just basics, nothing much

Now onto the flaws… oh com’on, I hate it too. First of all… the Zone is too large in his story. WAY too large. The radius of The Zone expanded to Bila Tserka? (Well, I learnt my Ukrainian Geography while writing “home to stay”). The Zone is only 30 square kilometre, meaning that the radius should be around 5.5km only. Not 55 km.

The character living INSIDE The Zone? Again, that is way too much. We don’t know what he does for a living, and since he is not a stalker it really tickles you when you try to imagine what is in the head of the author. No, unacceptable in my standard. The Zone is supposed to be a dangerous place, and no one could live inside it with a hunting rifle and living a true loner’s life. No, no, no. And also the part when a military stalker picks up the belongings of the character’s dead brother who happens to be a stalker… since when military stalker mangle with stalkers, the illegal goons?

Overall, if you ignore the setting, the story would have been fine. You might like it, but who knows?

Note- setting might have stray a little bit, but not too far, so I didn’t penalize it too much.

overall rating
Plot - 3/5 - Actually goes quite well, though I hate the way the story was ended
style - 4.5/5 - very unique writing style - really good.
characterization - 4/5 - Very deep, character has realistic emotions, characters' thoughts fully expressed.
setting - 2/5 - Fragged. Too much error.

What others had said:
[author no.2] - Deepness of the tale reveals itself istantly: '' Efiv Korsakov was born in the troubling year of 1988 on the west side of Kiev'' and this is adirect attempt to reveal the will of making a deep characterization and development of the people involved, making a effort in the past.I would like consider it a plus in a game where still the stalkers are anonimous and nothing is revealed about how much we will know about them in the retail version of the game.This means that making an effort to build a 360 degrees character is what immedialtely gives deepness to the tale but also to the game presentation (as this also explains the recent will of GSC of inculding biographies of tales' characters in the game).The deepness of this decision is well constructed on the events with a good use of the forms.

1) D. A fine story with great depth. An excellent choice for this game. I enjoyed the scope of the story and how it was not limited to a set frame work. One could dive into the world and let the imagination explore various avenues of thought. Well done.
2) Barbara Miller - Greg, you do an excellent job with mood and state of mind. A very dark story, but then the zone is a very dark place. Like Amoki, you put in a lot of work writing your story, which is longer than both of mine put together. Good story.

Link -

(9) A Blind Dog
Story genre – narrative
Plot – unsummarizable

Story review- now this is the kind of story that puts a smile on your face. A big one.

There is no direct plot. Maybe a simple one that is near non-existent. But what is so different about it, is that it is about the life of a blind dog. This is the classic example of ‘thinking outside the box can help you win’. The narrative is very, very creative- in fact, you need to ponder for well before you know what the author is talking about, and from there on everything is more than interesting to read. It is about the life of a Blind Dog, its pup and its partner, and lifestyle and so forth. Interesting story, interesting story. Definitely a must-read, although the plot will not be as engaging as those up in the front.

This story has no plot – basically, I cannot do much comment on it, or the loopholes. But the lack of an engaging plot forces me to land this story at this position. And the story’s position isn’t that bad after all! Basically, plot is only the problem with this story because it is over-simplistic, and that’s it. There is no other problem with this story.

Overall, a very interesting read… well, definitely will put that giggle onto you. Recommended.

Overall rating:
-Plot - 3/5 - interesting read. Very interesting .
-characterization - 5/5 - characterizing a doggy...
-style - 4/5 - l like his plain but straight-to-the-point 1st person point of view. Also, interestingly, he substituted Zone Character terms with those crpytic words that should really be what dogs think (Tall ones = humans)
-setting - 3/5 - above average. Typical zone setting, but from the viewpoint of a Blind Dog.

Note - author claimed that the work was translated.

What others had said:
1) Max - I love the dogs viewpoint of things.... mmm canned meat
2) Barbara Miller - I liked your story. Very original !
3) Zveroboy[UK] - Great story, lots of details, and *very* original!

Link -

(8) No escape
genre – stalker adventure
plot – life of a underdog stalker in The Zone
review – you can make a decision yourself once you see the plot summary. This story is creative, and a great break – it features an antihero!

No doubt, by now you HAVE to realise that most stories being in the top ten must have something that stands out… something unique that no other stories can imitate. Perks. Quirks, however you put it. Antihero is some of the rarest feature in the contest, because almost every author loves good heroes. Well, here you go – creative story!

Seriously… I like this idea, a scavenger stalker. The whole plot is probably driven by this guy, and that is probably enough. It is intriguing enough to see how such stalker survive in the field, and this also happens to be a masochist too. Interesting stuff. Also, there is some sort of tension present along the way, with the way how the author writes down what happened, when it happens and how, and works his story in a “cause and result” way.

Characterization is, of course, good. Underdog stalker… now, who could have thought of that? Basically the centre point of the story is the character itself- applause from me

However, not all things are great about this story. Plot value, for one, is low. Basically, the plot is too simple, although its simplicity should keep you engrossed during the entire length. Also, the plotline is somewhat generic – kill or be killed, that’s all. Most stories, up to this point, utilized this save for some very special examples.

Sure, it is in the top ten, but there is still room for improvement. Overall, should be an enjoyable length, considering its speciality and its length. Worthy for his ranking.

Personal note- contain unhealthy amount of violence. Reader's discretion advised.

overall rating:
-plot - 4/5 -unique - underdog stalker, who could have thought of that
- characterization 3.5/5 - Very violent characters, successfully portrayed characters as greedy *bastards* and dog-eat-dog situation
- style - 3.5/5 - Very easy to get onto it, good tension, very fluid..
-setting - 2.5/5 - Typical.

What others had said:
1) Great story best one ive read. Good luck with the contest.

Link -

(7) Remember
Story genre – surreal stalker adventure
Plot – a stalker from Chernobyl (he evacuated, and backs in) investigate a phenomenon that looked like his sister…
Review- Straight up, the finger from me. Thumb, of course.

This is short and sweet too, like its previous counterpart. However, this one packs more punch – a more solid plot, a more plot-orientated tension (instead of action orientated like “Through the eyes of a sniper”), and more surreal. You can’t get around it, and this completely fits the Zone’s description. I like it, and I like it a lot. And in the end, you have to read it a couple more times before you know what is going on in the end. Great piece of mystery I must say.

Also, the writer writes with style – smooth flow of language, and this time, a clear focus. He clearly knows what he wants to write, and how to write it.

Sadly… no, not bad points analysis. This is as good as its get beyond the top ten. Every story is packed solid, and every story is considered best among the best. The human aspect and characterization of this story is weaker compare to the others – I can’t see the difference between his characters, and most other characters in the other stories are either of the same standard but better plot value, or they did it better. Too bad. But at this place, I don’t think there is much to ask. Consider yourself the best, Chris, you’ve earn it.

overall rating
- plot - 3.5/5 - Was above average, substiture tension with curiosity as plot driver (not really common)
- characterization 3.5/5- Was good - quite thorough character history, but personally yearn for more though
-style - 3.5 - good, mysterious, tone.
- setting - 3.5/5 - above-average. Got the sense of Zone mystery.

What others had said:
1) ChanSD5 - This is simply one of the best and most memorable stories I have read here. Wow, Chris, you sure could write really really well. I hope you do more stories in the stalker setting. My new story, Geneva, will be posted soon, and I feel that your writing style is very similar to mine, so if you get a chance, read it when GSC posts it.
2) Franz La Zerte -
Hey Chris. I liked this story much better then yuor other one. This one is alot more unique, and theres some underlying character in Taras, which is nice to see in short stories. Many simply have a nameless badass kill stuff in the zone, and either emerge victorious or die trying. The whole thing with the lady was mysterious, and intriguing, I just wished I could have known more about her. Maybe you designed it so Im not supposed to know, or maybe I should be able to guess... but I just felt certain parts of the plot were a bit unclear. (It would have been nice if the character Kostya, who you took such pains to introduce in the beginning, had some part to play later on. His lack of role in the climax seemed a little puzzling, but thats just my opinion.) But good job on describing someone with emotions and feelings. A refreshing change to read about someone who actually appears to be human .
3) Reg LeCripsp - Quite good. Injects the Zone with a thoughtful dose of high weirdness which is sorely missed in the regretfully typical 'zombies/shootouts meet even more zombies/more shootouts' offerings found here.
4) E- Beautiful and tragic. Nice use of imagery in the opening few paragraphs. There was a real humanity behind the writing.

Link: -

(6)Pilgrimage, Part 1
genre – stalker survival
plot – a stalker uncover a site potential to be what caused The Zone to occur (research facility), and have to escape to survive.

Review – Now this is a great story too, a potential one that is.

This author got class. I have to admit, this is a pretty rare gem too. Let’s start from the plot – while from the first glance you might get the impression that it is generic, well, it is generic with a twist. The stalker was actually going into a fully-guarded facility, not an abandoned one. You will pretty much get the impression that this is a spicy fanfic after that. Definitely earn my thumb for plot. Also, you will catch on with the suspenseful mood of the story fast – this is a fast paced fanfic, and fast paced it is. You will earn for more from this author.

The style that this story is written is pretty worthwhile too. Great and fluid description (how many times have I used this?) right from the beginning. The author writes down every single single detail, fine-tuned them, and put them in the story… all without causing boredom in the readers. Definitely sweet. It is quite rare, again, to find such story.

Characterization is only above-standard. Main character is slightly special, as a Eastern European. But that’s it.

Basically, this story is near-perfect… accept for one thing – unfinished. I would have given this story a higher rating, maybe even for position no.3 or no.4… if the author finished the story. Problem is, he hasn’t, and there are 23 stories in this top 25 that has a proper ending of some sort. No, I cannot accept the fact that it shouldn’t be penalize just because the author didn’t finish it. A story that is not finished is not a story at all. What has a beginning, must have an end too.

Oeverall? Should have been a top fanfic if it was completed, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying this fine piece of writing.

overall rating:
- plot - 3.5/5 - excellent, very tensed development, only failure is failure to complete the story.
- characteriztion - 3/5 - above-average, but not that good - just filled in the history, nothing special.
- style - 4/5 - very tense ,mysterious (about the part where he found the special body (?) , very well-descripted and well-narrated action
- setting - 3.5/4 - use abandoned research facility as a background

What others had said:
[author no.2] - A Personal View: This story has two diffferent, opposite sides.While the form is well constructed, the choice of the forms and adjectives always reveals a well dedicated work and shows a good attempt at the presentation of the elements, the tale suddenly falls in a heavy use of rethoric (an excerpt: ''It had been difficult to make his way to Chernobyl from the outskirts of the rift; patrols of military stalkers and packs of Zone creatures became common enough to make stealth an urgent requisite for survival. He avoided the soldiers at all costs; alone, he could never match their numbers, training, and equipment. Zombies and the freakish telepaths that commanded those emptied shells of flesh occupied many of the burnt-out hulks of buildings that dotted the landscapes. Joshua took care to always aim for their heads. He was certain that any shred of humanity those ghouls still possessed could only pray for a quick end to their wretched existence. Their listless, cloudy eyes made his trigger finger shrink away in disgust until the clip was empty. Every building was a wreck and no bed was secure, so Josh slung himself across the branches of trees at night. He didn't relish the prospect of being torn apart in his sleep by packs of rats, ordinary creatures that has been horribly transformed by the radiated winds that swept through the countryside. He traveled by night, tracing gullies and thick brush.'' - nothing is described more then the expected shown iin the screenshots, not anything shows up about any particular about characters, settings, events, dinamics regarding the life, and so on.).Thus making the events of the story and the character reaction pretty flat

1) killswitch - Very good story, I gave it a 9. The descriptions of each event taking place in the story were great. Good work.
2) FreakaMan - Nice storry, it kind of holds you to the end. If you read it twice,some flaws might come up, but then again you're not Asimov (yet). I would like to add one flaw to the list, maybe it helps you for part 2, the fact that the helicopter just plunged in the gravity well, I expected it to have enough tech to detect this kind of things, after all even josh knows about this anomaly, it's safe to say the military does. Also abou the presence of the miliary, if in that laboratory took place experiments on humans, it would have been cleaned long before josh heard about the zone, no government would risk something like that reach the public opinion.

Link -
  20:00:23  29 December 2004
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back with a vengeance


On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729
Due to the recent interview, The Verdict V.2 WILL undergo a major turn-around. Setting is now skipped. Allow a few weeks to turn this place around.

And oh, Fraz - I'll endorse your story this time
  03:34:47  28 December 2005
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back with a vengeance


On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729
Which bring us to the all-importatnt Verrdict 2 now that it's what stands between proving the website voting as lousy and proving it as downright failure....

Anyone with WHATSOEVER story in the top 20? It is extremely vital any ammendment be done with in 24 hours time since Oleg Yavorsky is going to read thorugh them faster than a Kansas Tornado...
  21:33:04  29 December 2005
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Local Law-Enforcement


On forum: 03/02/2005

Message edited by:
12/29/2005 21:35:16
Messages: 7378
No idea what you mean. So only stories on the site will be the finalists?! Your list is confusing.

Some stories are also pretty bad, but they still made it in thefinalists. No idea why. Please go on MSN more often so I could talk to you about this!!!
  01:20:59  30 December 2005
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back with a vengeance


On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729

No idea what you mean. So only stories on the site will be the finalists?! Your list is confusing.

Some stories are also pretty bad, but they still made it in thefinalists. No idea why. Please go on MSN more often so I could talk to you about this!!!


This is a personal list that I've made by myself with the cooperation of another forum member. You should be looking at the top 25, not the finalist (which is only a guide to what story to read if you don't want to wade through all the stories).

Some of the storeis in the "finalist" pool is mediocre, I admit: but you shouldn't find any such story in the the top 25 (which is essentially what Oleg Y will be looking at soon)
  13:49:26  30 December 2005
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Local Law-Enforcement


On forum: 03/02/2005
Messages: 7378
So the top 25 comes only from the site? So all the stories on the forum are just there to decorate the forum? Such a shame.
  23:52:52  30 December 2005
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back with a vengeance


On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729

So the top 25 comes only from the site? So all the stories on the forum are just there to decorate the forum? Such a shame.

Not quite. As you will soon see there will be more stories to come if my tricks work...
  00:52:11  1 January 2006
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On forum: 12/07/2005
Messages: 11
I don't want to whine or such,

But how does the contest work?

Because i would love if my story was taken in maybe If i would get 25 and no price at all, It would just be sooo cool to see my story on the DVD.

Wheter i bought or won it.

How do i make it so that it get's reviewed and included.
Sorry if i Plain missed something, but i just wanted to add my question.

Thanks in advance
  15:55:24  1 January 2006
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The man lacking a plan


On forum: 08/02/2003
Messages: 273
All stories will be included on the DVD AFAIK, but as you say only the top 25 will be rewarded.

As for how to be sure that yours ( and others posted on this forum ) are included, I believe Amoki is working on that right now. Just keep an eye on this forum for updates, I'm sure an official announcement will be made once things become clear.
  10:55:56  2 January 2006
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Local Law-Enforcement


On forum: 03/02/2005
Messages: 7378

So the top 25 will be from the site first, then you will take some from the forum and replace the lackluster ones with the ones from the forum or something?

And being a moderator of the Literary contest, which is supposed to be unbiased and give a fair chance to everyone, what gives you the right to help somebody out more that everyone else in the contest?
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Forum Index » S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl Forum » Stalker stories

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