I read Fatherland (Robert Harris) last year and was swept away by it. It is located in an alternative world in which Nazi Germany won WW2 and now controls under the "Greater German Reich" most of Central/Eastern Europe and well into Russia/the old Soviet Union.
It’s also a page-turner of a thriller with murder investigation, and creates this whole alternative world (for example, Switzerland as the eternal independent bank next door) in a very believable way even though it’s now absurd.
I can think of other ones too:
Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels are both well thought out – in an entirely mad yet brilliant way- and very, very funny.
Margaret Atwood does a great post-apocalyptic future world in The Year of the Flood and Oryx and Crake, which are both set in the same universe and are chronologically interlinked (though both can be read and enjoyed on their own).
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is an alternate history/fantasy novel which manages to do both the historical world building and the fantasy bit really well.
Personally, I find Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughter House Five" to have an interesting setting(s), which by the way is set before, during, and after the bombing of Dresden, Germany. In some scenes, Billy, the main character, is sent to a faraway galaxy on the planet, Tralfamadore(excuse if misspelled), where he is put on display in a human zoo. Of course, we don't know if the main character is reliable, but regardless, it's pretty cool to have a historical fiction novel set in outer space. Also, Conrad McCarthy's "The Road" is set in a post-apocalyptic world that somehow seems almost realistic as the reader follows the father and his son down south while they keep an eye out for cannibals. Of course, what may be interesting to you may be interesting to someone else. I'm only in college, so I probably haven't read as many books as you have. – Kathagirl6 years ago
Want to write about Literature or other art forms?