Soo I got to thinking, maybe its time we put together a list of those most influential books that we feel ever fantasy and sci-fi fan should, at some point, pick up and read. Maybe because of the story, the books influence on the genre, the characters, the pace etc... For whatever reason we've all got our own little list of these kind of books - so lets share them : My own: The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings - by J.R.R. Tolkien - honestly most should have heard of these by now and if you're a fantasy fan you really should read them. They stand not only as a seriously good read, but also jointly hold the position of sparking generations of fantasy fiction writing. Originally part of a whole mythology that Tolkien was writing for Britain they take a lot of their sources from old Norse legends and as a result contain a great amount of the mythology and history of this area of the mythological world. The Lord of the Rings is also held as one of the best descriptive and world building books written - though characters are a bit weaker, the rest is top rate. Discworld series by Sir Terry Pratchett - Whilst opinions may vary as to where to start and which are the best books in the 20+ series the completed works is without a doubt a major modern work in fantasy. Starting as satire on fantasy and then building fast into satire on the modern world the quirky and humorous world of Diskworld is populated by a fantastic cast of characters and creatures. From witches to wizards to guards to the Luggage and to even DEATH himself you've a great cast that flow through the series! As an author who's work is translated in many different languages and who can often command a whole shelf if not two in many book stores you should have no worries about the quality in this series! (Ps start with Colour of Magic and work your way through published order for the best experience)! A Song of Ice and Fire (First book A Game of Thrones) by G.R.R. Martin - almost held as the modern equivalent of Tolkien with regard to the impact that this series has had this is well worth reading even in its currently incomplete form (Martin is still writing the rest of the series). Martin draws upon a wealth of understanding of the Middleages and does away with the "Dungeons and Dragons" style adventure writing that is so common in modern fantasy - he also does away with Tolkien's influences in establishing his world. Instead you've a gritty, bloody, dark world where the description lets you smell the streets and the characters can fascinate and repel you at the same time. Following a series of different character viewpoints this story is very much like a history tale of the world as seen through their eyes and actions. Another big shift is that there is no good and no evil - instead you've real characters who's motives and actions can be counted for good or evil, but who are in the end far more real for not being die-hard good/evil characters at their core. This really injects a feeling of life into the world. Finally no one is immortal and there is no central hero - instead any character may, at any point, work themselves into a corner and end their life. This really makes each page a joy to turn as you never know what will be around the corner - will they escape or die - will they win or lose - unlike many regular fantasy stories where death only might come at the very end in self sacrifice - here it can appear from anywhere. The Dragons of Pern (first book Dragonflight) by Anne McCaffry - often called "The Dragon Lady" for this very series of books, this series follows the world of Pern and its mighty dragon riders. A series that at its core bridges between fantasy and sci-fi (and for whom the author has on many occasions defended it as a scifi not fantasy tale). A slightly older/different writing style to many you might find on the shelves now can make many turn away, but press on and grow used to a different voice (if you're a reader or going to be one you'll find many many different voices in your time reading). A long series but well worth getting to grips with (although some argue that the series suffered from being a little long in the tooth by the end and some of the newest books co and full authored by her son have, lost some of the original magic originally present). I've other top reads that I really like to settle down with and read, but those few that I've listed there are, a beginning at least, in some series and books that I feel every fantasy fan should become familiar with. But now lets hear from you about your choices - do you agree with those presented and what others would you add and why.