According to SF Writers of America, 'reinventing the wheel' is where :
A novice author goes to enormous lengths to create a science-fictional situation already tiresomely familiar to the experienced reader. Reinventing the Wheel was traditionally typical of mainstream writers venturing into SF. It is now often seen in writers who lack experience in genre history because they were attracted to written SF via SF movies, SF television series, SF role-playing games, SF comics or SF computer gaming.
Like any genre you want to write in, it is essential to be vastly read in both that genre and others! Essentially you should have 'The Basics'.
So ladies and Gents, i'm starting 'The Basics' Challenge which is similar to the Fill-in-the-Gaps-Project except this will specifically refer to 'a genre'. In my case Fantasy with a dash of Science Fiction.
Here are some helpful links to get you started:
Absolute Write List of SFF basic books
Fantasy MasterWork Series
SF MasterWork Series
I'm currently going to post my progress/list etc. here, but if anyone else is interested - let me know and i'll set up a blog :)