I’m re-reading Asimov’s Caves of Steel, which has always been a favorite. Written in 1954, there’s plenty of stuff in it that is incredibly out-of-date, but things that are easy to look past. The big one that stands out is this future Earth (year unspecified, but somewhere in the 3000’s) having a population of 8 billion, a population level that has the Earth near its breaking point. It’s less about resources (though it comes up), and more about just plain living on top of each other– that with 8 billion no one could have any “personal” space.
What really stands out, though, looking at it from a writing-critique standpoint, is how it would not survive a critique session done today, let alone get over the hurdles of publication. It has huge chunks of info-dump, just pages upon pages where it’s just telling us How Things Are. It also is a complete mess in terms of point-of-view. It’s sort of third-person-omniscient, but also sort of third-person-limited from Baley’s POV. But even with Baley’s POV, it more often tells us what his face is doing rather than what his feelings are.
The big thing I saw, however, is a lot of the Bad Writing Ticks I had a few years ago (namely, large meandering infodumps and messy POV) are right there.
So: learn from the masters, but at the same time, recognize the things of old that don’t cut it anymore.