• Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us!

Books with a focus on setting


Many of my favorite movies have a very strong focus on a remarkable setting that is at least as big a draw as the characters and plot. Star Wars, Blade Runner, Fury Road, The Fifth Element, to name a few. They obviously use a lot of striking visuals, but just as interesting are the implications about the society and environments that created these fascinating places and the underlying conflicts that shape the rules by which the characters are playing.

I'm quite interested in the idea of novels atempting to do something comparable. Using evocative descriptions instead of visuals to imply things about the world, in addition to the things characters say and do. But I can think of very few books that do something like that. A Princess of Mars and its follow ups would be a good example, and I also suspect Dune, though I have not read it yet.

Are there any other books, perhaps with fewer scifi elements, that have an original setting acting as the primary character?


The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson is a great example of this.

The world is constantly hit by storms so harsh that many of the creatures are crustaceans and most of the land is rock with plants that are very timid, coming out of the ground only when it’s safe.

In the first book there’s a lot of attention placed on an opposing race which you don’t know much about yet so there’s always a feeling that there’s a lot going on in this world behind the scenes.