Hello there people. I wanted to start a thread for the discussion of specific genres, and suggested reading for people who might want to try out a genre but don't know where to start. I'm gonna try and focus this on the aspects of certain novels that are specific to the genre, (obviously sci-fi can overlap with fantasy at times) that can you can take lessons from as writers. Obviously I can only recommend books that I've read, and I am but a young sapling in comparison with some of the wizened old oaks on here (PM me for lessons on how to offend people with metaphors) so my initial post will only be a short one. Without further ado: Tolkein, The Hobbit and The lord of the Rings: Well it's the obvious one isn't it. It certainly isn't perfect, but it has influenced a lot of fantasy trends. I think the main lesson to be learned from Tolkein is his excellently huge world building, Middle Earth is a great example of what happens when someone has too much time on their hands. That being said, I don't believe this world in Tolkein's head is translated well onto the pages, he favours what is described as "Epic language" and while some people might like that, it can be incredibly slow to read. The story as well is a classic tale of good vs. evil, and does what I think all fantasies must do on some sort of fashion particularly well - he presents the world through an innocent character(s); the world beyond the shire is just as alien to the hobbits as it is to the reader, and so allows us to see details of the world through their eyes. I could ramble on forever about the content of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but to summarise: The book is slow to read, Slooooooooooooooooow, and gets slower every time there's a song, but the sheer depth and variety and awesome nature of Tolkein's tale and world is truly inspiring. George R. R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire : Some of the more hip members of the forum may know this as the hugely successful TV show "A Game of Thrones." The world building of Martin's world is on a similarly epic scale to Middle Earth, but in my opinion this is implemented more succinctly than in "The Lord of the Rings." The history behind all the different factions and people in the novel is interwoven perfectly with the motivations of the characters. Not only is each of the vast array of characters fleshed out well, but the main families and kingdoms are so detailed that they almost become characters themselves. Martin's world is also rather interesting in the inspiration it takes from history, if you know much history you'll notice quite a wide variety of different sources he's drawn on. Seen as pacing seemed to be one of "The Lord of the Rings'" main drawbacks, I thought it was important to point out just how good the pacing is in Martin's work. Pacing is probably the main reason why I would recommend "A Song of Ice and Fire" over "The Lord of the Rings" to someone less familiar with fantasy - There is an overwhelming amount of POV characters, but they are used to great effect - We experience one chapter worth of a character's viewpoint before being whisked away to a completely diferent side of Westeros. This creates an amazing ebb and flow of tension, every chapter ends on a cliffhanger, this also presents the character's in easily digestible chunks which helps to differentiate them. Fantasy is often done on a huge scale, but "A Song of Ice and Fire" goes about this in a way that makes it easy to appreciate the hugeness without becoming crushed underneath it. There's one more I want to do but I need to go out and socialize Post your own opinions on what fantasy novels and series you think set good examples for the rest of us.