Well this sure is an interesting topic for discussion! I have read all the earlier works mentioned and none of the latter works, and am interested now in reading some Miciah Johnson.
A related thing I’ve been thinking about with cyberpunk, and apologies if I missed it explicitly above, though I know it was kind of the point of the whole thing anyway - is the point in time in which it became no longer possible for cyberpunk to become speculative future. The popularized version of cyberpunk is in itself a branched timeline because it’s so visually tied to CRTs and neon and “jacking in” and other things that are so clearly relics of a bygone era. So much of what early cyberpunk discussed or presented is something we’re now past, and in large part those stories were… I don’t want to say optimistic, but romanticized. Wikileaks is an actual cyberpunk protagonist, I don’t want that. Chelsea Manning is a cyberpunk hero and she’s just in jail now.
Somewhere around the mid-2000s, what we knew of as cyberpunk became either The Past, or a branching universe in which the idea of that sort of cyberpunk was still possible as a speculative future. And that’s weird! I love neon lights and stuff but we’ve kind of got to let it go. I say this as someone who released a game that basically fits the aesthetic (Gunsport - though in a very small amount of fairness to me I wanted to release it in 2013). Top hits like Videodrome are still visually striking but a product of very different fears than the ones we’ve got now, and using technology that is simultaneously more dated and more naive about the future than is possible today.
Anyway like all things it’s become a commodity but as Moon notes it was well on its way from the onset.
One thing I’d like to point out about gibson is that he’s terrible at describing spaces. He’s good at igniting the imagination about certain possibilities but terrible at showing you where they take place. For a long time I thought I was bad at reading or conceptualizing spaces because I read a lot of his work as a young person, but as I read more (like stephenson for example!) I realized that gibson just failed to describe theoretical space in an intelligible way.
Ultimately though I am left with some optimism because now there’s a potentially cool book to read that comes out of this discussion, and maybe I can start to think about what the future of this or a similar genre might be like. Frankly, I’m not super excited to think about the extension of our current fears, which I think could be part of it! The fears we had during the true cyberpunk era were more abstract what-ifs. Our current fears are scientifically and sociologically proven, and they’re going to happen. So uh… that’s not very exciting, and I think that has taken a lot of the wind out of the sails of this genre for me!