Let me say I think Tolkien is the king of fantasy authors. I think he laid the groundwork and the credit he gets he is due. To me he's like Melville or any other great from the past. I'm wondering what makes Tolkien better than the newer authors (not to say the new authors are bad, but I'm not going to collect 10 different versions of another book like I do with TLOTR) I'm not going to re-read GRRM (for example) 5x (and counting) like I do with TLOTR etc... It's like every 5 years or so I re-read TLOTR. I wonder if it's something different now for example GRRM needs 5000 pages while TLOTR and the Hobbit were about 1500 pages total. I think maybe Jordan's Wheel will be over 10,000 pages. I'm not saying all fantasy is long, but it seems like there is a lot of long fantasy out now. Tolkien didn't write 20+ books like todays authors. I know Stephen King is a different class but he's got like 40+ books. I wonder if it's much more formula or more of a buisness today than it was in the past or if the past times were similar and just some guys like Tolkien stand out. Maybe it's his books were a landmark like Herbert's Dune or some other books that people relate to and judge other books by.