Part of the reason why Hollywood never got cyberpunk right was its awkward timing: SF of the Heinlein/Bradbury/Sturgeon school was influenced, for good or ill, by the memory of The Parsonage, where Jack Parsons and his crew maintained a place where sex, drugs and various goings-on were simply another day in paradise. Therefore, any future not strictly dysutopian (and not a few that were) had either non-marital sex or people getting stoned as a central feature.

 By the late Seventies/early Eighties, the sexual revolution was not only here, but was marching down the streets of Middle America, while recreational drugs were at their all-time high. Part of the unspoken rulebook of cyberpunk was that since everyone can have sex with anyone and drugs are old hat, where do you go from there?

 Unfortunately, just as cyberpunk was getting popular, Hollywood was on a Lucas/Spielburg kick. While the Seventies were a great era for getting quirky, New Wave-like (and therefore cyberpunky) ideas on film, Eighties media wanted Sure Things: big-budget classic comic books, 'warmedies' for family viewing, dramas with well-defined heroes and villains, teenage angst movies. While the First Reagan administration was fairly mellow about drugs, the second was virulently against not only drugs, but sex and drinking as well. (The AIDS crisis had something to do with this...) Not exactly the time to debut a genre that counted William S. Burroughs as a spiritual godfather.

 By the time things had calmed down enough (the Clinton administration) for cyberpunk to make a mark on the Big Screen, the Neo-Luddite movement was afoot, making anything even vaguely mechanical into a force for evil: I remember having to explain (and explain and explain) that this new "Internet" thing wasn't the same as getting a television in that you only had the content that you had consciously selected....and you could even add your own!

However, the idea of Good Punks (aided by saintly hax0rs) vs. Evil Businessmen (in service to the Machine) was appealing enough to make a few regrettable flicks (Wild Palms, Johnny Mnemonic) in the Nineties.

And after that? Well, the secret was finally out. The Hackers didn't want to pull down the Machine, they wanted to play with it! And they weren't slickly thin and have MTV hair and Italian suits, they wore loose clothing (who wants to wear tight pants *sitting down*) and were determinedly low-maintenance. Cyberspace wasn't a deathtrap, it was a playground. We'd reached the future, and it was nothing like we could have imagined. Long live cyberpunk. Hail, and farewell.