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  • Amadis of Gaul is the most important knight-errant Chivalric Romance of all time, but today it seems dated, to the point that it has been all but forgotten and replaced in importance by its extremely angry Deconstruction, Don Quixote. Note, however, that Amadis of Gaul is saved from the fire for its merits in the chapter where the library of Don Quixote is being burned, indicating that Cervantes himself was aware of this trope to some degree.
    The first that Master Nicholas put into his hand was "The four books of Amadis of Gaul." "This seems a mysterious thing," said the curate, "for, as I have heard say, this was the first book of chivalry printed in Spain, and from this all the others derive their birth and origin; so it seems to me that we ought inexorably to condemn it to the flames as the founder of so vile a sect."
    "Nay, sir," said the barber, "I too, have heard say that this is the best of all the books of this kind that have been written, and so, as something singular in its line, it ought to be pardoned."
    "True," said the curate; "and for that reason let its life be spared for the present. Let us see that other which is next to it."
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  • Annie on My Mind. The villains are one-dimensional, the romance develops in a short time (a month or so), and the heroes, Woobies or not, make some stupid decisions. These tend to turn people off the book. They forget that this was one of the first books to portray lesbians in a positive light, without having them turn straight or die.
  • Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. is seen as a pretty tame book by today's standards, but its frank discussion of puberty and religious issues were controversial in the 70s when it was written and resulted in it being banned from many schools.
  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu seems like nothing but simple common sense when read today by anyone with an interest in military strategy; however, at its time it most certainly was not. For example, Sun Tzu's claim that spies were just as important to warfare as soldiers and generals was considered highly controversial, especially since put alongside a declaration that fortune tellers and waiting for divine intervention are useless.
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  • The Bad Seed chilled readers to the bone back in 1954. Its story of a cute, dolled-faced little girl who manipulates her peers and ruins their lives was at the time pretty much unheard of. It was also important in making people realise that parents aren't always to blame for a child's misconduct. With the advent of later novels like 1962's A Clockwork Orange and 1993's The Good Son, modern readers are less likely to be impacted the same way as the 1950's generation were. As psychology has marched on, the novel's implication that "some people are just born evil" has become highly debatable, and—since this was before the second wave of feminism in the 1960's—its depiction of several mothers as doting housewives has not helped its cause.
  • Ball Four, a 1970 book by Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Bouton, was so controversial that MLB commissioner Bowie Kuhn called the book "detrimental to baseball" and tried unsuccessfully to make Bouton sign a statement saying the book was fictional. Today, its revelations about the behind-the-scenes activities of major league players, which made Bouton extremely unpopular among many in the baseball community for violating the "sanctity of the clubhouse", don't seem nearly as shocking. One particular example is the book's revelation of widespread amphetamine use by major league players, which seems quaint compared to the steroid scandals of recent years.
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  • When The Belgariad first came out, Ce'Nedra, the "spoiled brat" who becomes "a little tiger when the chips are down" (to quote the author himself) served as a Spiritual Antithesis to the damsel types that previously littered the high fantasy genre. In the years since, with the advent of high-fantasy works like Circle of Magic and A Song of Ice and Fire, which offer a variety of major female characters in various roles, Ce'Nedra's distance from the kind of damsel characters she was intended to parody has shrunk.
  • The Bible is widely considered by many as the go-to example of Values Dissonance that keeps mysteriously proliferating itself, a fantasy novel masquerading as a self-help book or vice-versa. Never mind the fact that between the dated verses is moral philosophy that was well ahead of its time, some of which is taken for granted having now become the status quo, and some of which can still be considered "progressive" today.
    • What many people nowadays can't seem to understand is that, even in the early days of the Torah, the Bible was never intended to be exclusively a "guide to life" as such. Not everything in even the Old Testament is supposed to teach a moral lesson; there is much that is pure history or even poetry.
  • Carrie, a 1974 novel by Stephen King, is this for the way it depicts religion. For years, many horror stories centered around religion, like Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist, portrayed God-worshippers as the good guys who fight back heroically against the forces of the Devil; in the case of Carrie, the religious individual, the title character's mother, is a villain, abusive, delusional, and downright insane. These days, with the growing acceptance of atheism and controversies regarding religious extremism, the character's arc almost seems like an annoying, parodic tract.
    • Carrie was also remarkable in the way it depicted the title character's bullies as psychopathic predators. It was truly shocking and outrageous when it was first published, but in the 21st century, with stories of vicious bullying permeating the headlines and anti-bullying movements in full swing, their behavior becomes less unlikely and eerily reminiscent of reality.
  • J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye started an Angst revolution in literature that it has never come out of. Angst has been a part of literature ever since Wuthering Heights, Romeo and Juliet, and even The Iliad (Achilles sitting in his tent and sulking, anyone?), but there it was presented in such eloquent language that it seemed more legitimately emotional. As a result, those who have read similar-style books before reading Salinger's book often write Catcher off as okay at best, and a poor man's Chuck Palahniuk at worst. The use of a casual, first-person writing style also contributes heavily to making it dated. The use of slang and turns of phrase that are alien to newcomers makes it strange to a modern reader. On top of that, almost everybody admonishes Holden not to swear when the worst thing he says is... "goddamn". This leads to modern readers, who hear words like "fuck" and "shit" on a daily basis, seeing Holden as more of a Rule-Abiding Rebel when he was, for his time, quite a potty-mouth.
    • This is parodied in the South Park episode "The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs", where the kids are required to read The Catcher in the Rye for school and are disappointed by how tame they find it to be after hearing so much about how controversial it was. Cartman even says that the book was a conspiracy to get kids to read by making it seem a lot edgier than it was.
    • You could argue that not only was Salinger groundbreaking, he was also way, way ahead of his time. The sarcastic first-person narrator he pioneered has become so popular in fictional media involving teenagers that people tend to forget it only really took off as recently as The '90s. John Hughes could use it in Ferris Bueller's Day Off three-and-a-half decades after Catcher in the Rye was published and still make it seem original; even Clueless, which was nearly a decade after that, seemed fresh at the time.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia nowadays seems just like a lot of other books you have probably read several times by now. Kids discovering a mysterious pathway to another world, finding their arrival to this strange new world to be predicted in prophecy, some of the residents are pleased to find them, while others want them all dead, and soon everyone embarks on a large adventure to save the world... Yeah, it doesn't sound too original today. Oh, and as for biblical references? * Yawn* . Name something today that doesn't draw from The Bible heavily.
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889) has fallen victim to it. It was one of the earliest Time Travel novels, and the protagonist's efforts to introduce "modern" technology and values in The Middle Ages was groundbreaking on its own. However this idea was followed in (among others) Lest Darkness Fall (1941), which was itself influential in the Alternate History genre, The Cross Time Engineer series, the 1632 series, and Timeline. While The Man Who Came Early (1956) by Poul Anderson served as an influential Deconstruction of the concept, nowadays it's hard to realize what was unique in the original novel.
  • Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Their hard-boiled detective fiction certainly qualifies.
    • The same goes for the inventors of "classic" detective fiction, Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie in particular. Many of the stories and novels by both are stuffed with clichés and twists that a modern-day reader has seen a bit too often - but they invented them.
    • While the works of Conan Doyle may seem a bit dated today, many of the mystery authors that succeeded him, and were hugely successful at the time, are almost unreadable today - their mysteries may have seemed innovative at the time, but have been imitated and done better so many times that they've lost their attraction. And, unlike the authors who remain popular today, such as Agatha Christie, their writing wasn't good enough to survive when their plots ceased to be novelties.
    • Isaac Asimov, when he set out to write some mysteries of his own, soon reached the conclusion that Christie had already used up nearly every twist in existence.
  • Dennis Wheatley was a British thriller writer who began his career in the 1920s and died in 1977. Many of his otherwise conventional adventure stories contained elements of black magic and Satanism, which (at the time) were considered highly cutting-edge and daring. Many of today's cliches of such fiction were originally invented by him. Since many of his works feature characters astral travelling, it might also be said that modern cyberpunk also stems from his ideas. Today, however, due to the racism, homophobia, sexism, class-consciousness, and Anglocentricity of his ideas, the novels appear quaint to most and offensive to many.
  • The Discworld novel Equal Rites was originally a subversion of the "witches = bad, wizards = good" trends in fantasy. However, the conventions used have since become so commonplace that today the book just sounds preachy.
    • Terry Pratchett was amused to be told he was "following in the grand tradition of J. K. Rowling", given that he had been writing and published for two decades longer than Rowling.
  • Don Quixote is this to... western literature. The first part of the novel had a Random Events Plot, a Romantic Plot Tumor and other errors, but the Even Better Sequel had almost none of the tropes under the Bad Writing Index. Imagine a world where everyone ignores literary techniques. If it looks like nothing special today, that is because everything after it followed the techniques that made it successful.
  • Dr. Seuss. When he started producing books for children featuring nonsensical word usage and surreal art, he was considered both genius and highly controversial, which tends to go right over the heads of modern readers.
  • Dracula, being the ultimate vampire Trope Maker, has been so thoroughly ripped off, parodied, retooled and revamped that even many Goths are sick of him.
    • To a lesser extent, this happened to Dracula's precursor, Varney the Vampire, which invented the idea of a vampire with fangs, puncture marks on the throat, and the sympathetic vampire. However, despite its influence it was never a particularly good book to begin with.
    • Dracula is an interesting case, in that he has become so Lost in Imitation, those who read the original novel are generally shocked by his inhuman appearance, total amorality (Stoker's Dracula never showed any signs of guilt or love), and clever schemes, rather than the endless tales of tragic beauty and Vampire Vords that he is incorrectly remembered for.
  • Dragonriders of Pern started the Dragon Rider trend in the 1960s, and you would be hard-pressed to find current fantasy writers who don't make dragons a Bond Creature in some way.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons books. People new to it (and in particular the Forgotten Realms novels) and who scoff at Drizzt being the emo badass rebel from an evil society don't realize just what hot shit those books were in the early '90s - and that they inspired a lot of the clichés they deride the books for using. Author R.A. Salvatore has even had readers come up to him at conventions to say "A good dual-wielding Drow ranger? How cliche!"
    • Dragon Lance suffers from this trope as well. It was the first series of books set in a gaming world to achieve popular acclaim. Today, reviews exist of the original Chronicles that tear them apart on the premise that it's such a cheesy/overdone/cliched setting and cast of characters.
  • Ernest Hemingway. Read any other novel or watch a movie on wartime experiences before reading A Farewell to Arms. It'll end up looking like just another run-of-the-mill war story.
  • It's probably fair to say that these days most people approaching Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser for the first time will be quite familiar with Dungeons & Dragons or related media like Baldur's Gate. Viewed from this perspective the stories and especially the Standard Fantasy Setting can often seem like a writeup of someone's D&D sessions. The short story format exacerbates this because each time our heroes are dealing with a new job or quest. Except, of course, that most of the stories were written decades before the first roleplaying games, and it was these stories perhaps more than any other source which informed the kind of archetypes on which D&D leans so heavily.
  • The Fighting Fantasy series made gamebooks well-known among the general audience and brought the peak of the gamebook craze during the 1980s and 1990s. Nowadays, while still remembered fondly by those who lived these glory days, some books are critisized for their weak characterization and weak story, as well as their Fake Difficulty. It's especially true in the case of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, the very first book of the series. It *is* the book that started it all, but compared to later installments, its gameplay is standard and its story is non-existant.
  • The Great God Pan (1894) was a prototype Cosmic Horror Story, notable for "the cumulative suspense and ultimate horror with which every paragraph abounds". It was cited as a major influence by H. P. Lovecraft, and (more recently) Stephen King. But part of the suspense is killed for the modern reader, who knows what to expect from the genre.
  • Many novels and stories by H. G. Wells contain what seem like very dated, unambitious and dull uses of sci-fi devices. For example, in The Time Machine, the time traveller simply goes to the future, has a look at what it's like... and then comes back home again. However, Wells was practically the first sci-fi writer of any kind (to the extent that the term 'science fiction' did not exist - Wells himself invented the term 'scientific romance' to describe his works). This can be applied equally to many other early sci-fi works. Also, Wells is famous for inventing nearly every other sci-fi trope and inputting them in his stories. Said devices are now part of nearly every novel, comic, video game, movie and anime that has science fiction elements.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: This book heavily influenced geek humor during the 1980s, but by more or less codifying the genre, doomed itself to this category. It also suffers from a degree of Python syndrome.
  • Howard P. Lovecraft, widely recognized as the founder of the Cosmic Horror Story and the Eldritch Abomination trope. Certain stories of his can now come across as charmingly old-fashioned and not necessarily all that horrifying. Or, in the case of his obvious racism, not-so-charming.
  • Jack London's The Iron Heel is arguably the first Futuristic Dystopia novel ever written. The central premise of the story - an evil Mega-Corp takes over the government, takes control of the media, violently oppresses all free speech and thought, etc. - was novel and topical (and quite scarily plausible) at the time London was writing, but it has since been done to death and back so many times over that the original seems tame and dry by comparison (YMMV on the continued topicality).
  • Lady Chatterley's Lover, which places sexual passion and pleasure on a pedestal, can consequently come off as quite teenage-like now, but in 1928 caused a scandal and was banned for thirty-plus years in several countries, and when published in the UK in 1960 became the subject of an obscenity trial which, remarkably for the time, ended in the publisher's favour. It also proved very influential in the sexual revolution.
  • The Leatherstocking Tales by James Fenimore Cooper not only put America on the literary map, but also pioneered a positive portrayal of Native Americans in adventure fiction, which got Cooper quite a bit of flak from contemporary American politicians, who at the time were pursuing an active policy of driving Indians from land that white Americans wanted. But since The Leatherstocking Tales are written in the style of Romanticism (which dramatically fell out of fashion with the rise of literary Realism), since the "Noble Savage" is now often viewed with suspicion, and since so many of Cooper's plot elements were reused by other writers of Western and general adventure fiction, he is now often viewed as trite, at least in his native America. Even before the 19th century was up, Mark Twain was excoriating Cooper as an overrated hack writer in his famous 1895 essay "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences".
  • Jane Austen and to a lesser extent the Brontë sisters suffer from this. Their novels have had a massive influence on the Romance Novel to the point that they may appear hopelessly clichéd and even a bit low brow because of the countless imitators.
  • John Carter of Mars launched the Planetary Romance genre, and has been hugely influential on creators of fantasy/science fiction media, including the minds behind Star Wars and Avatar. This influence created problems for John Carter, in that while it was faithfully adapting the original novels, for those not familiar with the source works, it came across as a massive Cliché Storm.
  • The Joy of Sex and Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex, but were afraid to ask weren't trite when they were published.
  • Imagine this; a low-class creative-type young man is secretly in love with the one of the richest, most popular girls around, along with most of the upper-class boys, who she keeps turning down. Her peers sneer at him, behind his back, but she invites him to her big fancy house in the country. He knows he doesn't have a chance, but goes anyway. They spend a lot of time together, getting to know each other. He overhears her remarks to one of her many high-class suitors about how she'll marry someone high-class, gets upset, and dresses her down for snobbery. When he cools down, he's so embarrassed that he decides to leave. She shows up and whoops, turns out it was just a misunderstanding. She was referring to him, metaphorically, and the story ends. Clearly this is some sort of wacky teen romantic comedy film. Except it's the poem Lady Geraldine's Courtship, from the 19th century. Just put the narrator in a band, put the protagonists in high school, and set it during a weekend at her parents' house, and you'd basically have a Disney Channel Original Movie.
  • Lensman. E. E. “Doc” Smith's classic saga can seem like a Cliché Storm of Space Opera tropes, but, of course, it started most of them.
  • Lewis Carroll:
    • When Alice in Wonderland was released, it was considered very innovative for not having a clear moral to the story. Nowadays, when it's not considered necessary for every children's book to come with a moral, few readers even think about the fact that the Alice books lack one.
    • It can be hard to see "Jabberwocky" as a brilliant bit of nonsense poetry when many of its Perfectly Cromulent Words (most famously "chortle" and "galumph") have since become recognized as real English words, and are no longer "nonsense". Also, divorced from its original context in the 19th century - when published translations of Old English poetry were first becoming widely available, and were widely read by English intellectuals - it can be hard to recognize the poem as an affectionate send-up of Beowulf.
  • Lost Souls. While Poppy Z. Brite's novel probably didn't originate of a lot of vampire clichés - bisexual, seductive vampires, New Orleans, Goths, Ho Yay - these tropes were a lot fresher when he and Anne Rice wrote their books.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: This book popularized most of the cliches found in fantasy today, but modern readers may well find it unspeakably boring, purely because everything in it has since been subverted, inverted, parodied, and otherwise done to death. Aside from that though, it also has lots of Unbuilt Trope which are actually not like what non-readers think the book contains.
    • He gave the first definitions of the stock races as mostly used today. Elves existed in many different forms in different mythologies, from little wingy tinkerbells to modern fantasy dwarves; now, everyone thinks "pointy ears", archery, and intelligent beauty. Orcs were a new name, and possibly didn't exist in that form in folklore except in general as orcneas, ogres. The elf-dwarf hostilities began in Tolkien. Dwarfs as bearded miners, while that did exist before, was codified. "Dwarves" was also a Tolkienism, as was the adjectival form "elven"; before Tolkien, the most accepted plural for "dwarf" was "dwarfs", and the adjectival form of "elf" was "elfin".
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert was shocking and controversial at the time, because it was a deconstruction of the Romantism genre and eventuallly led to the Modernism movement. Nowadays, it is mostly looked as a mundane story about an adulterous woman.
  • The Marvelous Land of Oz can come off as this - In the early 20th century, these books were the fantasy books enjoyed by a Periphery Demographic, before Harry Potter came around in the late 90s. Nowadays, the books seem quite cartoonish.
  • Michael Moorcock. A good bit of his work falls into this, especially The Elric Saga. Like The Lord of the Rings, he created or expanded upon many fantasy tropes that are commonplace now. Hell, even one of the introductions to the new paperback collections of Elric's tale states this. Also, all that crazy-ass, sexually deviant, creature-of-their-time, lone wolf super spy stuff (different from the way James Bond does it, mind you)? Well, that's Jerry Cornelius, possibly Moorcock's second most famous creation.
  • Nancy Drew can suffer from this a little bit. Post-feminism, it's kind of hard to realize how influential she was (almost every prominent female politician cites her as an inspiration.) She precedes Ellen Ripley and Wonder Woman and has been called one of the first feminists in American Fiction. Not to mention she was headstrong and adventurous, something that wasn't encouraged in children's literature (same goes for The Hardy Boys.) Nowadays, You Meddling Kids is a cliché in itself, and the books are seen as nostalgic at best and a little hokey at worst, while her utter perfection would have her written off as a Mary Sue if she was to appear for the first time today.
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson was hailed as a radical departure that overturned science fiction with its noir mood, gritty realism, and dystopian outlook. Now Cyber Punk looks old-fashioned and passe to some, and Shiny-Looking Spaceships are back in vogue as unironic extensions of modern consumer products.
  • The Neverending Story. Similar to The Chronicles of Narnia, it can seem an awful lot like a rather standard read, albeit a long one for children. A child finds a mysterious book that appears to be a gateway to another world. He appears to have found himself written into the story of this mysterious new world, and finds himself embarking on all sorts of adventures in a realm of fantasy powered by human imagination, becoming part of it all along the way, then finally departing home at the end after almost losing himself to his own fantasy and defeating the Big Bad. Even if the entire story wasn't replicated too much (Final Fantasy Tactics Advance comes close, however), a lot of the book's themes seem a bit... well, cliché. The plot itself doesn't seem to be anything new either.
    • Its length as well - after Harry Potter, it's hard to believe that this was probably the largest book that you would find in the children's section that wasn't an omnibus of some kind.
  • Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson is a particularly notorious example of this. Back in 1740 when the novel as a genre was still fairly new, it revolutionized the genre by introducing psychological analysis i.e. it focused on thoughts and emotions, rather than just actions. Since then, it has fallen victim to Values Dissonance so hard that it might as well be considered Deader Than Disco, with the unfortunate combination of having a main lead who's more or less completely perfect and being extremely preachy. Oh, and it throws in extremely dated ideas like how women must always obey their husbands for good measure. Heck, Richardson himself said he wrote it to persuade people to act more virtuously. When the author himself admits the entire novel is a morality lecture, you have trouble.
  • Paul Clifford, Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton's fifth novel, was an immense commercial success when first published. Today, it is remembered only as the origin of the notorious "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night".
  • Science fiction in general. Technologies that used to be completely fantastic tend to become Truth in Television decades later. See also Technology Marches On.
  • The Shannara franchise, particularly The Sword of Shannara. People today tend to look at it and see a blatant rip-off of The Lord of the Rings. At the time, people wouldn't have, due to Brooks' other innovations, including Elves that were human and known to be fallible, a Mentor who was a whopping example of Good Is Not Nice, the aversion of Always Chaotic Evil, the After the End setting and of course, the twist ending (The Sword convinces the Big Bad of his Dead All Along status). The series had the first high fantasy novel (Sword) not written for children to be a commercial success in its own time (that's right; The Lord of the Rings was not a commercial success until many years after it was published), and Elfstones and Wishsong were numbers two and three, respectively; all three spent weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. This was largely what convinced publishers that fantasy could be a commercially viable genre separate from sci-fi, causing an explosion in the publication of fantasy. Nowadays this is forgotten and the novel's innovations are so common that modern readers tend only to notice the flaws and the similarities to Lord of the Rings, instead of the differences.
    • When Shannara first appeared in '77, fantasy fans did see it as a LOTR ripoff. It came in for a lot of derision by the SF&F crowd. Its success came from younger and more casual readers, disappointed because The Silmarillion (also published in '77) wasn't like the earlier Middle-earth books. These readers picked up on Shannara because at the time there wasn't much else in the genre.note 
  • Sherlock Holmes. Some argue that he qualifies as a "stock character", arguing that even though he was the origin of various clichés, to a modern reader they are just clichés.
    • There was a Holmes story in which Holmes is sure that he got the right guy, but the guy has an alibi. What could possibly be going on? Can you figure it out? Turns out the guy had an identical twin. Bet you never saw that one coming, did you?
    • Holmes is a fleshed-out version of Edgar Allan Poe's C. Auguste Dupin. Dupin can extrapolate from tiny clues, scoffs at the clueless police and has a narrator friend who worships him. There's actually a Lampshade Hanging on this in the very first Holmes story.
    • Also, in the Holmes short stories Arthur Conan Doyle basically invented the concept of having a series of episodes starring the same regular characters in self-contained plots. (Before Holmes, magazines usually published serialized novels that required readers to have been following from the beginning). You know, as in the format that was appropriated by just about every single TV show ever.
  • The Snow Crash physical manifestation of the internet can come off as either a brilliant, eerie prediction of the future or a "I know this already" unsurprising setting depending on whether you read it before or after Second Life proved everything.
  • For about ten years or so, George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire was considered the ultimate in subversive epic fantasy. Little to no magic, no elves or dwarves (at least, not fantasy dwarves), profanity, uncensored sex, graphic violence and no Plot Armor for anyone. But it was also a heavily character-driven piece with genuine heart, even if that wasn't always recognized. By the 2010's, it had spawned so many imitators who mainly copied its surface qualities (extreme violence and death, explicit sex) that it no longer feels like anything really different, and is primarily thought of as "that series where everybody dies" due to its at-the-time-unheard-of tendency to kill characters that would usually survive to the end of similar books.
    • YMMV, but the reputation can be somewhat exaggerated. Although plenty of minor characters die, not unexpected in a book of so many characters, only a few were major POV characters- Ned, Catelyn, Jon. After the first book, it would be easy to classify three main POV characters as Tyrion, Daenerys, and Jon Snow. Throughout the first five books, only the last one is killed and will likely be brought back to life (heavily speculated in the books, already occurred in the television show). It's more shocking how often the plot drastically changes with character deaths having major political impacts, which averts the more standard tendency to change the status quo slowly.
  • A Sound of Thunder, a short story by Ray Bradbury, was about time travelers who went back to prehistoric times, killed a butterfly, and accidently caused a fascist candidate to win the presidential elections. Which was a really original plot, when it was written. However, those story elements are so trite now that when the movie loosely based on the story was made, it was criticized for using old, tired cliches.
  • The Space Trilogy was one of the earlier science fiction works to portray aliens as being morally superior to humanity, as opposed to most other works of the period, which treated aliens as hostile invaders. Nowadays having aliens be better than or comparable to humans in a moral sense is far more common.
  • Stephen King's books have fallen into this due to so many modern horror writers copying his style. When he first published Salem’s Lot and Carrie, the idea of bringing horror out of gothic castles and into average New England towns revitalized the genre. Now, between King and the rediscovery of H. P. Lovecraft, merely setting a piece of horror fiction in New England is seen as a cliche.
    • Carrie was also one of the first works to thoroughly demonize Christian fanatics, as stories before it, like Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist, had glamorized the religion. These days, with various controversies surrounding fundamentalist and Catholic Christianity, it doesn't seem so shocking anymore.
  • Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein features a Jesus-like human from Mars who can perform telekinesis, telepathy, and miraculous healing simply by meditating. He spends most of the novel trying to "understand earth behavior" and ends up bringing his followers sexual liberation. Most people nowadays tend to forget that Heinlein wrote the novel in the '50s but that it was only deemed publishable in 1961, when the hippie movement was just getting started. It ended up having a huge influence on the counterculture mentality of the '60s and '70s, predating Jonathan Livingston Seagull by over a decade. Many attitudes in modern New Age philosophy are taken directly from Heinlein's work, often disguised as ancient Eastern wisdom.
    • A lot of Heinlein's works have ended up as this simply due to the sheer amount of influence he had on science fiction at the time. Starship Troopers and The Puppet Masters are two especially good examples.
  • The Tale of Genji. It's considered one of the first modern novels, if not the first. Nowadays, it can be quite hard to get into.
  • The Thrawn Trilogy can get hit with a big dose of this by the Star Wars fandom today. By now, we've had a long time to get used to living in a world with over 100 published Star Wars Legends novels, a whole trilogy of official prequel films, and - at long last - an honest-to-God seventh episode that actually brought back Luke, Han and the rest of the gang for more adventures. In 1991, there was just the Original Trilogy, and a paltry handful of licensed comic books and young adult novels to content the hardcore fans. With that in mind, you can understand why it was a pretty big deal when Lucasfilm announced that Timothy Zahn would be writing an all-new trilogy of novels that actually attempted to continue the story of the Star Wars saga after the Battle of Endor - complete with a love interest for Luke, babies for Han and Leia, and a new Big Bad Duumvirate who were explicitly written to contrast Vader and Palpatine in every way. Case in point: the only reason it's known as "The Thrawn Trilogy" today is so fans can keep it separate from all the other Star Wars novels (including several trilogies) that came after it; at the time, it was just marketed as "The Star Wars Trilogy", because it was the first new trilogy that fans had seen since 1983.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin: The characters seem incredibly stereotyped to modern eyes because the popularity of the book - and the minstrel shows inspired by or at least named for it — established those very stereotypes.
  • Valley of the Dolls was a scandalous read when it was released - some book stores even resorting to selling it under the counter. It wasn't the first to explore the Horrible Hollywood trope - Sunset Boulevard and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? had done so already. But Jacqueline Susann had spent her previous career as an actress and used details from her own experiences to create details that shocked the public. Modern readers wouldn't find anything too shocking or surprising.
  • Nowadays, The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan is considered a horrendously cliched example of how all fantasy books are too long, with series that go on seemingly without end and yet little happens in them. When the first volume was published, in 1991, most fantasy novels were actually quite short, and/or tended to be trilogies or quintets at the very longest. However, he inspired so many other writers to pad out their volumes and stretch their stories over ten or twelve volumes that by the 2000's he gets lumped in with those he inspired, often cited as the Ur-Example, but rarely acknowledged as the man who started the trend.
  • William Morris (1834-1896) attempted to revive the Chivalric Romance genre with novels The Wood Beyond the World (1894) and The Well at the World's End (1896), creating "an entirely invented fantasy world" as their setting. These works and his earlier Historical Fantasy novels influenced writers such as Lord Dunsany, Eric Rücker Eddison, James Branch Cabell, J. R. R. Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis. Problem is that they are among the founding works of Medieval European Fantasy. They had a noticeable influence in the development of Heroic Fantasy, High Fantasy, and even the Cthulhu Mythos. There is now nothing innovative about creating an invented world, and his works were considered dated by The '70s.
  • When the 2017 Live-Action Adaptation of The Worst Witch premièred, a lot of people wrote it off as a blatant rip-off of Harry Potter. Turns out that the first book was published in 1974, and the series was one of the most direct inspirations for Harry Potter.


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