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Is there a BEST story on SOL?

richardshagrin

Its Moanday, lets stir things up. I was looking at the top 50 classic long stories and asked myself, Self, which of these would you most like to read again?

Its a tough decision. There are a lot of great authors represented on the list, and at least one I go Huh? why are those stories there? Hint, they include Vampires and I don't bother with stories about vampires, or zombies.

Does anyone want to go on record to select the best of the best? I recently read the do-over by Rlfj and it sticks in my mind. Lots more sex than I remembered from the first time I read it. And of course Dance of a Lifetime by Frank (the guy who changed his name to Don). There are some really good stories on that list. I suspect people who aren't as crazy as I am about long stories might select stories from some other list, or maybe even ones they wrote themselves. I am looking for something to read after I finish Lost and Found by Douglas Fox. Its on the list but not my choice for best, football, football, and then some more football.

Anybody want to venture an opinion? You can chicken out, like me, and only mention some finalists, THE BEST can be hard to identify.

madnige
Updated:

I was going to do a list and give a brief yea or nay to each, but there's actually quite a few I've not read (yet - except for even fewer that I probably won't)

I'd reread any of the Al Steiner, BarBar, bluedragon, gwrresearch, Lazlo Zalezac or Lubrican, or the works by Andrew Wiggin, Gina Marie Wylie, rlfj, or even Douglas Fox (though I preferred his A Reluctant Hero tying into the Greenies/Perfect World universe), in fact I have reread most of them, however a best was requested.

Since there's so many different styles and subjects, and each appeals at different times depending on mood, I've decided to go by emotional impact. There are two stories on this site I can say bring me to emotional tears. The one in the top 50 long stories, which gets my vote, is Lazlo Zalezac's Hunter, specifically the scene which becomes the magazine cover. The other, which gets my overall top vote isn't in the 50: BarBar's short story First Times which makes me cry even thinking hard about it (warning - it is NOT a 'nice' story).

Replies:   Grant
sejintenej
Updated:

"The Best" has to be based on the likes and dislikes of the individual reader. Yes, there are authors whose styles I dislike or whose spell checking is rubbish but can produce a good story. I see Madnidge has singled out Lazlo Zalezac's Hunter (and I also endorse Madnidge's Greenies choice) and, because of its entire tone I would add his "Millionaire Next Door" because he makes a clear life route to possible success (what a pity some idiot spammers forced him to take down the site which discussed his "rules"). Other than that you could usually find me reading "doover" stories

Grant

@madnige

Since there's so many different styles and subjects, and each appeals at different times depending on mood,

That's pretty much it.
It very much depends on what sort of mood I'm in as to what is best or not. And while there are probably 2 dozen that really stand out, there are plenty of others well worth reading (and re-reading).

Lifeline, Daze in the Valley, Finding Shelter, A Perfect World, Greenies, Aftermath, Opus One, K2, Magestic, The Millionaire Next Door, original series of Damsels in Distress (and several of the other stories by other authors), Bec series, Experiment 36 (and 37), Doing it All Over, An Ordinary College Sex Life, The Preacher Man, Tanget, Cost of Time, The Far Side, S&W 45, The Anthony Carter series, A Stitch in Time, Shadow of Moonlight series, Hunter, the Ania Timeline series, Flossie's Revenge, Australian Story, The Dragon's Backbone, Lost, the Worlds of Light series, Summer Camp series, Playing the Game series, Finder's Fee, Mayhem series, Sea King, Shasta's Tale, Quest for Knowledge, Synergy, The Trailer Park series, Uncle Randy and the Angry Niece, Thunder and Lightening, Magic, The Collar Around the Heart, Heroes, The Solitary Arrow, Oceania, Privateer, Captain Gold, Family Volentin series (actually almost all of Fick Suck's longer stories), Proeliator, A Peril at Ishar (and the following 2 stories), Eric Olafson- Neo Viking series (although most have been pulled, big loss), Bounder, Through the Lens, Stupid Boy, Betrayal, Reluctant Hero, The Houseboat (and sequel Code Name Crescent).

aubie56

Should I be upset because none of my stories were mentioned? ROFL

Replies:   pj
remarcsd

I will confess to having read Hammingbyrd7's The Pracher Man at least 4 times. Whilst there are many fine and enjoyable stories on SOL, and I am a big Lazlo Zalezac fan, that one is just so unique, it gets my vote as the best I've read here.

Replies:   Argon  Gauthier
jr88

There are so many fantastic stories, but my personal favorite is Aftermath by Al Steiner.

Argon

@remarcsd

I will confess to having read Hammingbyrd7's The Pracher Man at least 4 times. Whilst there are many fine and enjoyable stories on SOL, and I am a big Lazlo Zalezac fan, that one is just so unique, it gets my vote as the best I've read here.

I second your vote.
Argon

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Argon

Preacher Man is an excellent story. I am not thrilled by the ending. No matter how heroic he is, killing the hero or letting him die and then continuing the story is (I think) a flaw. I know everybody dies. Just don't make it an important part of your story. I know the New Testament includes death of the hero, but he comes back and lives forever. That's the way to handle killing the protagonist.

Replies:   Switch Blayde  Grant
Switch Blayde

@richardshagrin

No matter how heroic he is, killing the hero or letting him die and then continuing the story is (I think) a flaw.


Isn't that what happened in the movie "Gravity"? I got bored with it so I turned it off when the George Clooney character was floating away into deep space so I'm not sure. But didn't he die and the story continue? And wasn't he a hero for saving the girl?

Grant

@richardshagrin

Preacher Man is an excellent story. I am not thrilled by the ending. No matter how heroic he is, killing the hero or letting him die and then continuing the story is (I think) a flaw.

?
He didn't die at the end of the story.

Shinerdrinker

I am totally in love with Cold Creek's Dman series. I have each one several times and when I get bored I usually read certain parts just for fun. I also thoroughly enjoy Refusenik's Island Mine. That one is just one of my favorite reads of all time. Of course Aftermath is incredible. I can;t forget about Daze in the Valley, it actually changed the way I look at porn. I can watch and now I notice when the two stars are not into each other and just going through the paces, and likewise the other way around. A scene where the actors are really into each other is a great time for all.
Shrink42's "Banner Year" is another great coming of age story I re-read often. Anything Bluedragon puts out is totally worthy of reading.
And finally who can forget Cmsix's John and Argent. for me that was the story that first one me over and brought me to SOL. And for that, I'll always be thankful.

A simple answer to your question, Is there a BEST story on SOL nope I don't think so. The next best might be getting posted tomorrow.

awnlee_jawking

A strong candidate would surely be the completed story with the most downloads for its only/final instalment.

AJ

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@awnlee_jawking

If there are more readers when that story is posted than when some other candidate was posted more downloads might be misleading. I am pretty sure there were fewer readers when the site was new(er) than there are now.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin

True, but that could work both ways. An older story will presumably have been in the all-time top rankings for longer and have attracted a steady stream of new readers.

demonmaster62

@richardshagrin

Redtail
Blackfeather
Dance of a lifetime
Second Chance

Although it's not comepletely finished yet,

Every book in the A Well Lived Life series so far, is a winner.

If I had to suggest THEE Long Stories to read to the first time SOL reader, it would be this list. Though the order would change with the day and mood. I seriously can't rank them.

Replies:   cantamelon
Gauthier

@remarcsd

Hammingbyrd7's The Preacher Man

If we go by the number of reread online, yep, that's the one for me too, read it 12 times.
Another good one in a totally different register is Kelly by Morgan that one isn't in the TOP 50, it has some flaws (a bit long winded and repetitive in the end) but I've reread it 7 times.
Honorable mention read 6 times: The Watching trilogy by Alan Mathews (incomplete).

That's not including dead tree reread, there is one I've read more than 230 times and could recite by rote but I started that one 37 years ago...

Problem with reread count is that it's biased toward really old stories.

garymrssn

I think Lazees "Top Lists" is about the best compromise. I also think he is wise to refrain from attempting to declare a single top story.
The process of determining a best overall story is is just too subjective and would drive some people to leave SOL no matter how carefully it was done.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@garymrssn

Maybe if you compromise and just say its the next one you want to read. Could be one that isn't finished yet. There are some authors whose stories I don't wait until the story ends. Banadin, Rlfj, Lazlo Z (I wish I could spell) probably some others, I read every chapter of LA Fun when it goes up.

Replies:   garymrssn
garymrssn

@richardshagrin

That works to. I think the best story ever for me may be the one they pry my cold dead hands from just be for they haul me off to the mortuary.

El_Sol

The correct answer is Al Steiner's Aftermath.

And what's wrong with Vampires... as long as, you know, they're written like a shark.

Replies:   Grant  richardshagrin
Grant

@El_Sol

The correct answer is Al Steiner's Aftermath.

As much as I enjoyed Aftermath (and it does deserve the rating it has), I reckon A Perfect World & Greenies are better.

richardshagrin

@El_Sol

I have a suspension of disbelief problem with vampire stories. If there is just one, why. In some stories they get killed, despite whatever superhuman abilities they have. If there are many, why are there any humans left, or that they are just legends instead of well known. If there is something that keeps their numbers down so they aren't obvious to most of humanity, what is it? Self control is highly unlikely over hundreds or thousands of years. And there is the evolution problem, how did they evolve to drink human blood? In evolutionary time frame there were very few humans until the last 10,000 years or so. It took civilization and agriculture spreading around the world to give us the current population density. And that is not very long for a new lifeform to evolve.

Replies:   madnige  Dominions Son
pj

@aubie56

No. I read anything you post and, every month or so, review your stories list.
But that's just me.

aubie56

Thank you, pj.

madnige

@richardshagrin

I have a suspension of disbelief problem with vampire stories.


The only story with vampires I liked is artie's Open Clinic; any story that starts off with a were-jackalope bringing a were-komodo to the vet has got to be slightly off-beat. Yeti, Vampire, Satyr, Dryads, it's a wonder he can get time to treat the normal cats and dogs.

Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

"I have a suspension of disbelief problem with vampire stories. If there is just one, why. In some stories they get killed, despite whatever superhuman abilities they have. If there are many, why are there any humans left, or that they are just legends instead of well known. If there is something that keeps their numbers down so they aren't obvious to most of humanity, what is it?"

For one thing, despite what a lot of Hollywood horror movies portray, if you go back to Bram Stoker's book or the source myths, a bite, even draining to the death or multiple bites isn't enough to create a new vampire. To create a new vampire, the vampire has to drain a victim, then feed the victim his own blood.

tppm

Answering the question in the subject line, yes, because if are there or more choices there is always a best and a worst*. As to what that story is it will vary with each reader.

*With two choices there are only better and worse.

And as to the vampire question. If there are vampires there are still normal humans for the same reason there are still deer in the ranges of mountain lions and/or wolves. If there are too few pray the area can't support predators.

About 100 to 1 for African lions, for instance.

cave jug

Hi there authors,
enjoyable exchange here among yourselves. Thank you. I am curious if a reader, like myself, can put in "two bobs worth" as the saying goes. In other words, would there be any use to you to know what an "outsider" thinks in therms of "the best".

To be precise, the best I've read thus far, subjective, and in doing so, reveal my taste, my age, perhaps critical at times.

Or, it would be something you rather wouldn't want to know!
Cheers.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@cave jug

In other words, would there be any use to you to know what an "outsider" thinks in therms of "the best".


Well, since I write to be read, yes, I always like to hear from readers or even "a reader"-so please, have at it.

Cheers,
bb

sarcastic_cynic

First time posting here. Always get nervous my writing will get badly criticized by all you great writers. Hmm, not. At least I can spell correctly..;).

Favorite would be Honkytonk Hero by Joe J. Also, most stories written by Coaster2.

Replies:   tppm  1111
tppm

@sarcastic_cynic

Always get nervous my writing will get badly criticized by all you great writers.


Don't worry about it. Of course your writing will be criticized, that goes with the territory. You need to use what's useful, and ignore the rest.

1111

@sarcastic_cynic

Joe J made me break a promise I made to myself. I had resolved not to read any on-going serials and wait until the story was complete before starting but his excellent "El Paso" was quickly followed up with El Paso - Border War, which I immediately followed and, you guessed it it's been discontinued!

I'd like to start a new thread on best discontinued stories you'd like to see finished. Along with El Paso Border War, I'd put Intemperance III up there also.

BlinkReader

Best story (stories)?
If there are just couple of stories, then there may be answer to this question.

But, with so much good an appealing stories (and lot of them are good or even brilliant) there is simply no god answer to this question.

For me - some stories are good read when outside is sunny, some are good in winter times, some make me smile when I'm sad, some make me cry.

Let's say: stories are here. If you did not read Top 50 (long and short) and Authors' favorites, start with them and then expand your circle ->
- find what are your preferred author favorites,
- search for category or mix of categories,
- follow Top finished downloads
(or Recent Top stories),
etc...

You are not going to miss...

inconspicuous

It's difficult to decide how to start whittling down 'favourite stories' into a shortlist of 'possible best stories'. For example, I would undoubtedly pick Preacher Man over Kinetic by almost any measure in some arbitrary 'writing competition', but I find Kinetic to be a more enjoyable read.

Most of my suggestions have already been covered above so I'll just mention the Blacktower series.

docholladay

I think the best story will vary from one reader to another. Each one has a little different preference in one form or another. Its why when I have recommended this site to potential users I have met in r/l I only recommend a particular story if I know its what they are looking for. Otherwise thankfully
SOL and its sister site FS has a great variety of choices for just about any taste in reading materials. I recommend the sites as a rule because of that great variety in choices. There is probably something to fit almost any one's preferences. Of course I could be wrong about it but what the heck.

sarcastic_cynic

Many come to mind, but I pick "The Millionaire Next Door" by Lazlo Zalezac.

koehlerrock

@richardshagrin

I am not trying to be rude, but the more recent stories, (that is, 2010- present) are extremely repetitive. I think I have enjoyed the "precursors" of the site. The years 2002-2009 have some of the most powerful and inspirational stories, not that I'm trying to slight any of the current authors. I miss stories that are set apart from the others, and still have a great meaning to them.

Replies:   BlinkReader
BlinkReader

@koehlerrock

Khmmm...

Let's think just about tree-four new stories written in last three years:

"A fresh start" by rlfj (http://storiesonline.net/s/68384/a-fresh-start)

"Island Mine" by Refusenik (http://storiesonline.net/s/73545/island-mine)

and let's see - "Lifeline" by Jay Cantrell (http://storiesonline.net/s/11098/lifeline-drama-story)

or one dark story with lot of crying: "The Door Upon Which I knock" by Bytor (http://storiesonline.net/s/10834/the-door-upon-which-i-knock)

Do I need to list other very good and even brilliant new stories written after 2009 ?

Fia1

There are many favourites, but I would have to say Tom's Adventures by T-Rix

cantamelon

@demonmaster62

What are THEE LONG STORIES? I would like to read them.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@cantamelon

The posting that mentioned that item was on October 27th. Its a little confusing because it mentions at least 5 stories, but the first two are linked, with the second being a sequel to the first.

kayden

Personal favourite - Tycoon by Raven Soule though I fear the author may have passed and it won't be completed.

Following that, it depends on mood. aubie56 has stories that I've read numerous times, some of the other authors that write westerns are great for re-reading as well.

I think the Halloween Redemption stories by Starcrawler are very good reads. Many of the stories in The Swarm universe are great for enjoyably chewing up spare time.
Dual Writer has some excellent storytelling, though the swinging elements tend to rip me out of the story.

I find that there are a great many fine story tellers on SOL, it's just a matter of finding stories that match what you want to read, and that don't include elements that ruin your enjoyment of the story.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@kayden

Many of the stories in The Swarm universe are great for enjoyably chewing up spare time.
Dual Writer has some excellent storytelling, though the swinging elements tend to rip me out of the story.


I agree both are a good source of reading materials. And as to the swinging elements among others, for a good story I can skip over those segments easily enough.

richardshagrin

If you get dizzy swinging, you need to hold on tight, or maybe move from the swings to the teeter-totter, or maybe the monkey bars. Stay off the slides, they are too dangerous.

kayden
Updated:

@docholladay

Usually I can skim through elements that to me, don't fit the story. The way Dual Writer includes it at times is just too jarring. I went so far as to email him about it at one point, because the female character, who was bi but very heavily female preferential, somehow saw no issue with banging other dudes - on their honeymoon.

Or one of the Florida friends stories, where the female member of the newly married couple had maintained her virginity till marriage, but was banging a stranger within a day of losing it. In cases like those, it just doesn't seem to fit the character, so I can't keep my head in the story.

Those are pretty much my only complaint with his stories though, and Dual Writer remains one of my favourite SOL authors. I just need to REALLY skim past sections of the story :)

Oyster

No, there is no "best" or "greatest" story here or anywhere else and that is a very good thing. Just think how boring and depressing it would be if there was just one best and most perfect x of category y. So a toast to and a celebration for diversity.

This is in no way a cop out just because I am unable to choose just one story over another...of course it's not...

Replies:   docholladay  sejintenej
docholladay

@Oyster

I agree Oyster. Heck the best will depend on who is reading the story. We all will have our own best of whatever at any given point but even those are constantly changing depending on many personal factors in our lives. Like right now for example I have had a pulse rate over a hundred for almost an hour now, that will affect my opinion of anything I read while trying to get it back down to a normal range (not to mention my ox rate dropped to almost 77percent).

sejintenej

@Oyster

I also agree with Oyster. Just reading a serial with the most basic plot imaginable (central character is bankrupted) but the author is creating such (believable) situations and writing very different get-outs (don't throw those topless protesters out of the National Gallery - there are plenty of topless painted ladies already so two more won't hurt). Plot - perhaps 3, writing and imagination 20. The "best"? - its different and it is very much up there

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@sejintenej

I am feeling contrarian today. Of course, if there is a population of 3 or more there is a best. Good, Better (of two), Best. There is also a worst, again the population needs to be three or more. Bad, Worse, Worst. If I knew the best story I might have to kill you if I told you. Its a secret. Everybody has at least one opinion, unless you haven't read at least three stories. The problem is, as others have indicated, the opinion bounces around, depending on how you feel and what you would like to read. And maybe what you read the last time you finished a story, or didn't, and moved to something else to do. There is probably a best Vampire, watersports, MM story, if there are three of them. That doesn't mean I want to read it, so don't tell me.

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