On the edge of the galaxy by Virgil Finlay

We’re now testing version 5 of The Classics of Science Fiction that’s completely database-driven and is inherently expandable. We might not need to ever create a new version. Version 5 will automatically create updated lists as we add new data.

Try it out here:  https://csfquery.com

Version 3 was database driven and I always meant to rewrite it so I could add new citation lists on the fly. Version 4 was based on a program that processed a fixed number of citation lists. Mike took on the project to learn new programming languages and has produced an elegant design of simplicity and flexibility. We hope everything is self-evident. You can click on most data fields to get more information. You can click on headings to resort the list. You can click to show the citations, and click again to remove them. And there’s a list builder that allows users to create their own customized list.

We’ve also reset the minimum citations for our versions of the lists. For books, it’s now 12, for stories it’s 8. In the past, we had lower minimums which produced longer lists. We just hated that some of our favorite science fiction wouldn’t make the grade. We’ve eliminated that temptation to meddle and decided to stay close to 100 items for each list. That’s about the perfect length for a list of greats. We think this works out well because the results are all very famous stories. However, you can use the list builder to set your own criteria for generating the lists.

Totals for our lists will constantly change as we add new data and reset the rules.

We feel our lists are the most remembered science fiction books and stories. We don’t claim these are the best science fiction you’ll ever read, that’s up to you. Our goal has always been to identify those stories which are remembered over time. We hope to add new features that will allow users to even specify which citations to use so they can see what books were popular during different time periods.

We’ve also decided to leave all the essays about the project off the new site. We’ll leave version 4 up here, which has the history of the project and the old versions of the list.

Play with this new version and let us know what you think. Leave comments below.

James Wallace Harris

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