I have long argued that the most important thing in storytelling is the quality and originality of its ideas. Not every book needs engaging characters or a gripping plot, so long as the ideas the author provides are interesting, insightful, or inspiring. By contrast, too many writers these days stick to the by-the-numbers guidelines for fiction, giving you character and plot, but nothing unique enough to make their books memorable. Personally, I’ve grown quite weary of your Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Witcher, etc., Anglo-Saxon inspired fantasy. If anything, Sci-Fi/fantasy should push the boundaries of our imaginations, not rehash the same old ideas that have been explored exhaustively for the past fifty years. So, if you want something different, look no further than Terry Pratchett. He is, perhaps, the best example of why what matters most in storytelling are ideas. For example, in his Discworld debut novel, he describes, in a touch-in-cheek manner, “the most improbable of possible universes,”—a flat disc planet resting on the back of four giant elephants, who are themselves standing on the back of a giant turtle swimming through space. The absurdity of the concept makes for some exciting storytelling possibilities and is a far cry from anything you’ve likely read before. Pratchett also gives us the best description of magic I’ve ever read, being “the absence of reality.” Given the outlandishness of his premises, it’s easy to see that Pratchett’s writing is largely satirical, poking fun at the tropes in the genre, while still offering all the action, adventure, wizards, barbarians, magic sentient swords, and of course, dragons, any lover of the genre could ask for. The only other author I can compare him to is Douglas Adams (and also, I should not forget, Piers Anthony) but while Adams pretty much cornered the market in Sci-Fi humor, Pratchett remains the undisputed champion of his own (invented?) fantasy humor sub-genre. The Color of Magic is also a breeze to get through, with a quick-moving plot that never gets bogged down by the minutia of world-building, while still being clever enough to rise above your every day, read-and-forget popcorn novel.