“Your drink.” The barman holds out an improbable-looking goblet full of blue liquid with a cap of melting foam and a felching straw stuck out at some crazy angle.
That’s your run-of-the-mill — even white-bread (blue liquid… how intriguing) — kind of paragraph, ne? I thought so too but then there was that word,
trans. Usually of a male homosexual: to stimulate the anus of (a sexual partner) orally; spec. to remove orally semen ejaculated into the anus of (a partner). Also: to insert a small animal, esp. a gerbil, into the anus of (a partner) for sexual stimulation.
Oxford English Dictionary, Draft Entry, Mar. 2003
and it casts the whole scene into a wholly different light, doesn’t it? It wasn’t evident at first but that’s not the omniscient narrator speaking — it’s our lovingly perverted BDSM geek protagonist, Manny, painting the world with his colors.
And that’s what I mean when I say Accelerando is dense: it is chock-full of such all-important words. Since they are generally very technical or speculative, and since Stross has the habit of studding them like raisins into any given sentence, you’ll be tempted to just skip over them. Don’t.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”