As he says:
"There's a new cultural strange attractor at work, sucking in the young, smart, deracinated mechanistically-minded readers who used to be the natural prey of the SF movement. It's geek culture.... And unfortunately they don't buy many [fiction] books, because we aren't, for the most part, writing for them. This isn't to say that they don't read. There is a literary culture that switches on the geeks: it started out as a branch of SF. Yes, I'm talking about cyberpunk. But while cyberpunk was a seven day wonder within the SF field, which subsequently lost interest, the geeks recognized themselves in its magic mirror and made it their own. This is the future they live in, not the future of Star Wars and its imitators, of the futures of Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein. And in addition to cyberpunk — the golden age SF taproots of their field — some of us are beginning to address their concerns. Among the quintessentially geek authors, the brightest names are Neal Stephenson and Cory Doctorow and Douglas Coupland and (in his latest incarnation) Bruce Sterling."
Charlie goes on to posit that the above authors are not writing for traditional SF readers, but writing fiction that is based on a present-day world view. His comments remind me of the way cyberpunk father William Gibson has been zeroing in on the present, approaching backwards from the future in his own work, his Bridge trilogy not as far cast as his Sprawl trilogy and latest Pattern Recognition set simply in the now (and actually, as of now, a few years in our past). I wonder if Gibson no longer needs to write science fiction because his particular future simply arrived. But I digress...
While Charlie goes on to say that:
"The audience I'm talking about is today's successor to the traditional SF readers of yore. They're smart, not brilliantly well socialized because their energies have been going elsewhere, and they increasingly self-identify as geeks. We are competing for their attention time with computer games, video, the internet, and fuck-knows-what new bleeding edge media that haven't made it our event horizon of self-absorption yet: anime, manga, machinima, your guess is as good as mine. They don't, yet, have a separate section in the bookstore, but they know what they like to read and they get it from the fringes of the mainstream and the edges of the genre and the core of the slipstream. And their time is coming. If you're a writer and you still want to be in business in something vaguely resembling SF in thirty years time, study them."
It's late here, and I want to process this some more after sleeping on it, but I will say that the target audience he identifies is EXACTLY the audience that David Louis Edelman was deliberately writing for with his novel Infoquake. That Infoquake has drawn multiple (favorable) comparisons to Stross, Stephenson and Doctorow should not surprise then.