1979 film by Andrei Tarkovsky based on the short story The Roadside Picnic by the Brothers Strugatsky.
Isaac Asimov wrote the preface to the Strugatsky's English language debut novel, a collection of short stories also called "The Roadside Picnic".
The film is very surreal, very little dialog in a very long film. Tarkovsky loves to take lingering shots to create a mood, often very eerie and dark in this one. One of my favorite films since I first saw it. Interestingly, a poem gets read in the film "Kogda chelovek roditsya, on slab i gibok, kogda derevo rostet ..." that is also quoted in Russian at the beginning of a Thomas Dolby song from the same period. Coincidence? I believe (unconfirmed) that the poem is written by Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

The film was shot, in part, near Chernobyl.

compiled overview of the 85ton Stalker 'Mech, from various BattleTech novels and game sourcebooks:


A well-known assault 'Mech, the Stalker was first produced in 2594, just prior to the Reunification War. To make it as effective as possible in all kinds of combat, the Stalker's designers gave it a varied array of weapons with differing optimal ranges. Though the Stalker ended up with far more weapons than could safely be fired in a single salvo, the variation in range and type gave the 'Mech's pilots unprecedented choices of response to enemy fire. The Stalker also had a top of the line fire-control system; the advanced computer system determined a target's range and suggested the optimum mix of weapons. The original Stalker design represents BattleMech technology at its height.

Few modern Stalkers retain the original computer equipment so vital to this 'Mech's proper operation in battle. The latter-day Stalker is still a fearsome 'Mech, but without the advanced computer, pilots must be cautious not to overuse their 'Mech's tremendous firepower. Also, the immense amounts of waste heat generated by the lasers often overwhelm the Stalker's twenty heat sinks.

Stalkers often lead major advances flanked by other heavy 'Mechs, using their superior firepower to blow holes in the enemy ranks. With a maximum speed of 54 kilometers per hour, the Stalker is one of the slowest 'Mechs on the battlefield, making it perfectly suited for steady advances and dogged firefights.

In urban battles, where most fighting occurs at close range, the Stalker is a particularly deadly opponent. It can use its lasers and SRM-6 to demolish enemy 'Mechs at ranges from 30 to 270 meters, and can also be employed to clear a path through buildings and fortifications. The 'Mech's heavy armor allows it to crash through hardened walls without taking serious damage. A favorite tactic of many Stalker pilots is to wait inside a building until another 'Mech comes into range, then step through the wall and into the street behind it. Often, the Stalker appears behind its intended victim and fires before the other 'Mech can turn.

The Stalker can absorb tremendous amounts of abuse before being forced to retreat, and most Stalker pilots prefer to take the fight to the enemy rather than to adopt a defensive position. Because of its highly efficient short-range firepower, a Stalker usually attempts to close with the enemy and concentrate its attack on the heaviest 'Mech.

All of the Successor State militaries build their heavy cavalry units around the Stalker. Most often the heavy cavalry appears in the first line of battle, followed by medium lances. Light lances take up the rear to engage stragglers or dispatch damaged opponents.

When playing a defensive role, the Stalker is usually deployed with 'Mechs that carry long-range weapons, such as Archers.

At the Battle for Saffell in 2787, House Kurita used Stalkers to halt the Federated Suns advancing forces. The heavier Kurita units retreated under a rain of long range fire from Davion Archers and Trebuchets, and the Davion 'Mechs advanced steadily despite a fierce bombardment from the Kurita Stalkers' LRMs until the besiegers reached the fortification walls. There, they found most of the Stalkers waiting for them. The Stalkers' heavy armor had allowed them to survive the Davion attacks, and they offered stiff resistance to the Davion main column.

During the Battle for Hoff in 3022, Wolf's Dragoons deployed several heavy lances led by Colonel J. Elliot Jameson in his Stalker. At Tarn Hill in the Johnson Sector, Colonel Jameson's command lance was attacked by a full company of Eridani Light Horse 'Mechs. Outnumbered but not outgunned, Jameson's lance began systematically destroying the heaviest of their opponents. Jameson's own first charge crushed an enemy Rifleman, and a short-range salvo of medium lasers and SRMs stripped most of the armor from a nearby Griffin. The suddenness and brutality of the attack surprised the Eridani, who fell back in confusion. Though Colonel Jameson's Stalker took heavy damage to its armor, it left the field reasonably intact.

Note: Information used here was the domain of FASA before they split the rights between Wizkids LLC and Microsoft (table-top gaming and video games respectively). Copyright of the fluff text is in limbo, but names of persons, places, & things are without any doubt the property of Wizkids LLC. Use of any terms here related to the BattleTech trademark are not meant as a challenge to Wizkids LLC's rights.

Stalker is a highly amusing game played on college campuses across the nation. Regardless of the given name (ie: Drench, Assassin, Die MoFo 200X), the general goal is the same - to "assassinate" your secretly assigned opponent by the prescribed means.

The standard game of stalker uses water bottles/guns as the assailants weapon and follows these rules:

    1. You may not attempt to find out who someone elses opponent is ahead of time.

    2. RULE LOCAL TO UNT You may not use water guns (university policy)

    3. You must report all target eliminations to your assigned game coordinator before proceeding to your next target. *note - your next target is who your target's target was when you assassinated him/her*

    4. There is no killing within buildings (this interferes with classes and gets carpet wet)

    5. To be a valid elimination, the wet spot must be at LEAST the size of a quarter.

    6. Rain CANNOT be used as a weapon.

    7. You must use water and ONLY water to eliminate someone, any other material may be considered hazardous and will remove you from the tournament.

    8. Excessive force is NOT allowed. ie: buckets, swimming pools, water balloons, etc.

    9. If you target sprays you before you hit them, you must stop and cease to pursue your opponent for one minute. DO NOT spray random people (as funny as it may be)

    10. Your target has 30 seconds to get across crosswalks in which they are safe from elimination due to safety hazards of running in the streets.

    11. No eliminations may occur within 10 feet of any door. These are safe areas.

    12. Breaking any of the above rules may result in removal from the tournament.

The last man/woman left after all assassinations have taken place is the winner. Rule #9 is eliminated in the last round (when it's one on one), in which case the first one wet looses. These are the rules local to TAMS @ UNT. Obviously you are allowed to make your own spin on the rules. Some of my favorite suggestions include:

    1. Bombs - attach a piece of paper to the bottom of a chair intended for the target. Should they sit in the chair without "disarming" the bomb, they will die. (disarming simply means taking the paper off the chair)

    2. Highlander Variation - In this version, there are no weapons. All kills are made by touching someone on the shoulder and saying "There can be only ONE!"

    3. Dossiers - Anytime someone is assassinated, the assassinator must fill out a profile sheet for the person. These normally include: A person's "rank" (newbie, greenhorn, sneaky, soldier, ninja, etc), how many kills THEY had, their "last words" (generally made up by the assailant), and anything else you may wish to add.

The game instills paranoia in all its players and is always amusing for spectators as well (especially when the bomb variant is in place, it's quite funny to watch people lift their chairs above their heads before they sit). People get wet, people laugh, people get excersize, and a fun time is had by all. Play and enjoy!

Stalkers, is a name given to the people that had to clean up after the Chernobyl disaster. These people, mostly soldiers, had to work almost unprotected in conditions of extremely high radiation. Obviously most of them died due to cancer and other radiation induced illnesses(some died after a few days, others lasted for a few years).

The term stalker was taken from the Brothers Strugatsky book, "The Roadside Picnic". In the book, stalkers are people that enter areas which were contaminated by radiation(apparentlly because aliens landed there). Most of them don't live for long, and those who do suffer from mutations. For example, the main character's daughter is furry and has a tail.

“I’m going to be frank,” Myrtle said, putting down her mug of hot chocolate, “I think I have a stalker.”

Aiden looked up from his bagel and turned around to examine the small 80s styled diner. Everything seemed normal. “Stalker? Who? Where?”

Myrtle pointed to a booth a few rows down and Aiden turned just in time to see a person duck down behind the chair. “The small one?” Myrtle nodded. “He can’t be any more than ten.”

“He’s been following me around for a few days now. I keep catching him trying to break in and digging through my trash." Myrtle said, taking another sip of cocoa.

“And this doesn’t bother you?”

“He’s not the brightest crayon in the box. He couldn’t hide to save his life, he’s easy to pick out in a crowd, he makes too much noise when he’s sneaking around, and he wears too much black, even in the daytime.”

The little stalker peeked over the booth’s chair at them again, and then ducked back down when he saw they were still looking. Aiden sighed and stood up, “Wait here.”

“Don’t hurt him,” Myrtle said, adding more sugar to her hot chocolate.

Aiden made his way through the crowded diner to where the kid was hiding, nestled against the wall between the chair and the table. The boy scowled when Aiden came into view and sat up straighter.

“What’s your name, squirt?” Aiden demanded.

“Ezekiel.” He said, calculating an escape plan with Aiden blocking the only exit.

“Well, Eze, my girlfriend says you’ve been stalking her. Have you?”


Aiden snagged the boy by his shirt collar just as Ezekiel dove under the table, trying to get past Aiden. He thrashes and clawed and Aiden’s arm, biting him and tearing at the flesh. A few people, hearing the commotion, turned and stared at them. Aiden pushed the kid back into his chair, threatening him with years of pain to shut up and stop making a scene. Ezekiel let go of Aiden’s arm and huddled back in his corner, “I’ll bite you again,” he warned.

“You do and I’ll break your neck.” Aiden made a step towards him. “Why’re you stalking Myrtle?”

“I have to. It’s part of my training,” Ezekiel said, flinching.

“Your what?”

“Training,” Ezekiel repeated. He attempting to sidle away from Aiden, “I’m going to be a,” he paused, “What are those things called? Like ninjas, but they kill people?”


“Yeah! I’m going to be the best assassin ever. I can already sneak around at night and I wear lots of black and I’m really good with weapons and I can even ___ __ ___. I’m only in training right now, but they’re trusting me with this mission because they said even I couldn’t mess up killing a teenager. They said all teenagers that aren’t with the assassins are all clueless idiots and it will be easy.”

“Who are they?”

“The headmasters at the assassin school,” Ezekiel tried to get under the table again, but Aiden kicked him until he got back to his seat, “People from all over the world come to this school because all graduates grow up to be successful. Plus, there’s always someone in the world that needs to be cut down and we’re the people to do it. Usually, assassination is just a side job, we normally become politicians or army people.”

“There’s a hit on Myrtle?” Aiden asked, the full force of the words finally sinking in.

Ezekiel nodded, and then pulled out a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket, “I have the contract right here. I’m supposed to follow her around for a week and gather information so the assassin school has a file for future uses. Do you know her?”

“Yes, I know her!” It took all of Aiden’s self control not to shout at Ezekiel, “She’s my girlfriend!”

“Oh, good, then she trusts you.” Ezekiel grabbed a fork off the table and held it out to Aiden, “Do me a favor and stab her in the neck with this, ok?”

Aiden slapped the fork out of his hand and snatched the contract away. Ezekiel cried out as Aiden tore the paper to shreds, “You can’t do that!”

“Who put the hit on her?”

“I can’t tell you, that’s against the rules!”

“You tell me or I’ll – “

“I’ll scream!” Ezekiel shrunk back, “You’ll have everyone in the building after you as a kidnapper or something!”

“I’m not doing anything!”

“Who’re they going to believe?”

Aiden scowled, “Then call off the hit.”

“I can’t. The headmasters decide which contracts we take.”

“All contracts are void if the one who hired you dies, right?” Ezekiel nodded, “Tell you what, you kill whoever it was that did this, alright? A shot to the head, quick and simple. None of this following for a week thing. No messes, no trail, no file, nothing, just in and out in a second. You do that and I’ll,” he thought for a minute. “A toy. I’ll get you a toy.”

“A toy?”

“Any toy you like.”

Ezekiel bit his lip. It was against the rules to accept contracts without informing the headmaster first, and even more forbidden was for a trainee to accept one. “A panda.”

“A stuffed panda, then,” Aiden said.

“A fuzzy one.”

“The fuzziest one they have.”

Ezekiel stood up and cautiously stepped past Aiden, staring him down like he expected him to lash out and strike him. “Ok, I’ll do it.”

I’m trading murder for a stuffed animal. Aiden thought as he moved aside for Ezekiel to get through, I think I’m insane. “Good boy.” Aiden let the child loose and headed back to Myrtle, who had just finished off her hot chocolate.

“That took a while,” she commented, “everything alright?”

Aiden nodded, “It was nothing. Just a childish dare.”

“Dare to what?”

Aiden shrugged nonchalantly, “Just to stalk.”

Myrtle smiled, “Ah, kids.”

“Yeah,” Aiden said, looking through the window and watching Ezekiel walk down the street with the barrel of a gun sticking slightly out of his pocket, “kids.”

Stalk"er (?), n.


One who stalks.


A kind of fishing net.


© Webster 1913.

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