The fall edition of Currents in Electronic Literacy contains a tremendous scholarly essay on Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Eric Mason, called "Remediating the Magic Kingdom: Notes Toward a Poetics of Technology."
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Doctorow aligns himself right from the get-go with an axis of serious jocularity, whose members are such folks as Rudy Rucker, Robert Sheckley, Matt Ruff, Jonathan Lethem and, at his loosest, Bruce Sterling. These authors spin off wild blue-sky ideas in rigorous profusion, as many as any recognizable hard SF author, but couch them in absurdist plots populated by eccentrics and oddballs.
Paul Di Filippo,
Paperback ISBN: 076530953X