This project started years ago when my friend Mike asked me for a list of great science fiction novels. I told him we shouldn't go by my opinion, but find an authoritative list. I then got the idea of collecting lists by fans, critics and writers that had some experience behind them, and then cross-tabulate the list to see which books showed up with the most frequency.
The illustration at the top of the site is a cropped image from the Winston Science Fiction book series, and painted by Alex Schomburg. The illustration was on the endpapers of all their titles, and it generates intense nostalgia for me. An uncropped copy is below.
Growing up in the 1960s, I always sought out Winston juveniles in all the libraries I visited. Schomburg's painting represents science fiction to me. I always loved spotting the Winston logo on the spines of books.
I built two versions of the database, and then Anthony Bernardo's helped me expand it to a whopping 28 lists for the third version. (Thanks Anthony, if you are still around.) When I get time I want to add several more lists from the last ten years and re-tabulate the final list again.
In the meantime I blog at Auxiliary Memory.
James Wallace Harris
jharris at jameswallaceharris dot com