Hold on to your brain. Accelerando may cause cognitive overload.
Trying to "understand" Charles Stross's latest novel starts with something called the Singularity. The Singularity is a point in the future where technological progress and societal change produce such superhuman intelligence that those who precede the event are unable to comprehend it. As elucidated by mathematician and science fiction author Vernor Vinge, this superhuman intelligence may arise from computers or computer networks that awake to consciousness and/or individual computer/human interfaces that allow humans to be continually connected to computing power and information.
This is the rarified stage upon which Stross follows three generations of the highly dysfunctional Macx family in the 21st century. We meet Manfred Macx in the opening decades of the 21st Century. He is an idea man. He uses his human/computer interface to assimilate more than a megabyte of text and several gigabytes of AV material every day, staying current on ideas, trends and news as he develops concepts for new businesses, patents and other intellectual property. But Manfred isn't a billionaire, he's a venture altruist. He gives his ideas away, eschewing money to live off the favors and benefits his clients bestow upon him.
In Manfred's world humans can work and reside in two places separately or at the time time—cyberspace and "meatspace." Part of Manfred's ideas and efforts involve freeing lobster "intelligence" uploaded into and meshed with a computing system that runs an asteroid mining project space and his seemingly off the cuff discussion of dismantling the planets and moons in the solar system to convert them into computronium for use in a system-wide nanocomputer network.
These are just the surface of the ideas Stross explores. Trying to grasp some of them will force you to seriously engage your frontal lobe. Moreover, some of the more difficult concepts can only be described in language that does not easily flow. For example, here is Stross's description of a "3D printer" in action:
It hisses slightly, dissipating heat from the hard vacuum chamber in its supercooled workspace. Deep in its guts it creates coherent atom beams, from a bunch of Bose-Einstein condensates hovering on the edge of absolute zero. By superimposing interference patterns on them, it generates an atomic hologram, building a perfect replica of some original artifact, right down to the atomic level—there are no clunky moving nanotechnology parts to break or overheat or mutate. Something is going to come out of the printer in half an hour, something cloned off its original right down to the individual quantum states of its component atomic nuclei.
Similar detail applies to many of the central concepts, perhaps indicating why some innovative souls have created a wiki technical companion to the book.