In science fiction stories, there are certain ideas and tropes that writers who aren't well-read in the history of the field often come up with and write stories about, not realizing that that idea first appeared (and was fully explored) in a classic sf story fifty years earlier.
Which isn't a problem, of course, except when the whole story is focused on showing off this shiny new idea that the writer doesn't realize isn't shiny or new to people who've read classic sf.
A while ago, it occurred to me that it might be fun to put together an anthology of the first, or most famous, or best, sf story that did each of various particular things--the primary goal being to provide a primer for sf writers who are relatively new to the genre so that they won't reinvent the wheel. (And with the hope that non-writer readers might enjoy the stories as well.)
For example, every so often we see a story based on the idea of having a bunch of monkeys sit down at typewriters to see if they'll write Shakespeare's plays. Some of those stories have been pretty good--but to me, the canonical monkeys-with-typewriters story is R. A. Lafferty's 1970 story "Been a Long, Long Time."
Another example: we regularly get stories in which the whole point of the story is some specific twist on the idea of time travel. In a surprise twist ending, time travel turns out to behave in unusual way x. In most such stories that I see, the particular twist was done by Fredric Brown in one or another of his short-shorts from the 1940s and 1950s. And the canonical time-loop stories, for me, are Heinlein's 1959 "All You Zombies..." (the loop can't really get any tighter than that) and del Rey's (less well-known) 1951 "...And It Comes Out Here."
I'm not really gonna put together such an anthology. But I thought it might be fun to discuss what stories might go in it, if someone were to put it together.
So: what works would you suggest for such an anthology? (Or call it a reading list, if you prefer.)
The concept could be interpreted broadly: What was the first or best or famous work of sf to deal with time travel, or alternate history, or hyperspace? But I'm more interested in more specific tropes and twists. Usually there's a lot of room for reinvention of (say) hyperspace, and usually the whole point of the story isn't "wow, we can travel through hyperspace!" I'm mostly focused on the kind of thing where (a) newer writers tend to rediscover the idea and think it's new, and (b) someone who's read a lot of sf would say "Yeah, this story was written, better, by Fredric Brown in his 1954 story '[whatever].'"
Still, newer writers might find it instructive to read some of the classic first stories that cover broader areas as well, so feel free to suggest those if you want to.
Fantasy and horror tropes could also be included, but I think those genres are less prone to the kind of issue I'm talking about. In fantasy and horror, I think writers are less likely to focus a whole story on a specific Cool New Idea, and thus it's less likely to be an issue. Although I guess that, for example, the canonical horror story in which the surprise twist ending involves an insectoid creature laying eggs under someone's skin might qualify.
If you aren't sure what particular story ideas newer writers tend to rediscover on their own, feel free to list classic first-or-best stories that cover particular tropes anyway.
(And yeah, I imagine most newer writers wouldn't bother reading such an anthology, which is one reason I'm not really interested in actually putting one together. But I still think it's a fun thought experiment.)