True: it is indeed Titus Groan. But seriously, and no offence intended, is there much point asking?
Well, it's obviously The Lord of the Rings: partly because it is very good in itself, partly because it basically invented the genre (or at the very least codified it) and partly because it had an immense impact on the lives of a lot of people, particularly in a certain time period. Not every SF novel wants to be Dune or 1984, but for a while the majority of fantasy wanted to be LOTR or at the very least owed it a huge debt. With the possible exception of Jane Austen's novels in Romance, I can think of no genre novel that is held in such high regard within its genre. I can't see how it could be anything else.
Magnificent book. We're actually doing a Chronscast episode on it over the summer, which I'm really looking forward to. I wrote an article on MW a while back as it left a very strong impression on me. It seems to have fallen out of favour of late, but I've got a feeling that once it's rediscovered (as all great books are) it will be held up as a classic of the genre, and perhaps in time even a classic of English literature.I'd also give Mythago Woods a mention.
I'm not a fan of these types of questions. Greatness means different things to different people.
It's easy to say LOTR, I'd probably agree it is but then I think what about Gulliver's Travels, Lud in the Mist, King of Elflands Daughter? The list is endless.
@The Big Peat mentions Tigana, that is a beautiful book. I'd also give Mythago Woods a mention.
If someone wants to say Brooks' The Sword of Shannara is the greatest, I may disagree but that is their opinion and they're entitled to it.
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