Americans do not use the term ‘torch’, they say ‘flashlight’.
He can’t hear you. He’s too busy counting his money.
Who is Charles Stoss, and can you provide some context for your complaint?
Charlie Stross is a science fiction writer, I believe. I’ve never read his stuff, so I can’t help as far as using “torch” goes.
So, is this just a hit-and-run complaint? Is he a British writer? If so, it would be natural for him to say “torch”. Unless his narrator is supposed to be American.
I ran into this recently, reading one of the Jack Reacher crime-thriller novels by Lee Child. Child is a British writer. The character, Reacher, is a U.S. citizen and former U.S. Army MP. For the most part his narrative voice is standard American English. Occasionally, though, there’s a British term that should have been changed by the book editor, e.g., referring to a “mobile” rather than a “cellphone”, or using the term “straight away” instead of “right away”.
Does the OP’s complaint bear any relation to this?
Well, I hate to speak for the OP, but Charles Stross does have a running series called the **Merchant Princes **series. The main character is American (but I would think her citizenship would be open to question). I could believe that she refers to an electric torch at one point or another. I have read them but that sort of thing doesn’t bother me.