The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer

By Janelle Monáe

In The Memory Librarian music, fashion, film and futurist icon Janelle Monáe returns to the Afrofuturistic world of her critically acclaimed album, Dirty Computer, to explore how different threads of liberation – queerness, race, gender plurality, love – become tangled in a totalitarian landscape… and to discover costs of unravelling them.

Whoever controls our memories controls the future.

Janelle Monáe and an incredible array of talented collaborating creators have written a collection of tales comprising the bold vision and powerful themes that have made Monáe such a compelling and celebrated storyteller. Dirty Computer introduced a world in which thoughts – as a means of self-conception – could be controlled or erased by a select few. And whether human, A.I., or other, your life and sentience was dictated by those who’d convinced themselves they had the right to decide your fate.

That was until Jane 57821 decided to remember and break free.
Expanding from that mythos, these stories fully explore what it’s like to live in such a totalitarian existence… and what it takes to get out of it. Building off the traditions of speculative writers such as Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, Becky Chambers, and Nnedi Okorafor—and filled with the artistic genius and powerful themes that have made Monáe a worldwide icon in the first place – The Memory Librarian serves readers tales grounded in the human trials of identity expression, technology, and love, but also reaching through to the worlds of memory and time within, and the stakes and power that exists there.

Format: ebook
Release Date: 14 Apr 2022
Pages: None
ISBN: 978-0-00-851242-2
Janelle Monáe is widely celebrated as an American singer/song writer, actress, producer, and futurist with a globally successful career spanning over a decade. With her highly theatrical and stylized concept albums, she has garnered eight Grammy nominations and has her own label imprint, Wondaland Arts Society. Monáe has also earned great success as an actor, starring in critically acclaimed films including Moonlight, Hidden Figures, Harriet, The Glorias, and the 2020 horror film Antebellum. She is also currently in production for the highly anticipated sequel Knives Out 2.

”'THE MEMORY LIBRARIAN might not be the answer to the social and political upsets of our time, but it is an answer, and a fiercely inspiring one: a deepening of Afrofuturism’s potential to weaponize our dreams for a freer, more joyous world.” - WIRED

‘Each story in this collection is a searing but ultimately hopeful glimpse into how marginalized groups can hope and create in a world set against them’BUZZFEED -

‘A reminder for those who’ve ever been told they don’t fit in that there’s a world beyond this harsh one’WASHINGTON POST -

“A poignant commentary on the power of technology, the preservation of queer identity, and the commodification of time’USA TODAY -

‘Blistering, hopeful, and richly written. . . All readers will finish the book craving more’BOOKLIST (starred review) -

‘A moving, triumphant collection…This is a knockout’PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review) -

‘Highly recommended for readers of conspiracy and thought-control sf or of Afrofuturist works by the likes of Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, N.K. Jemisin, and Nnedi Okorafor’LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review) -

‘A celebration of queer and Afrofuturist science fiction saluting creativity in difference’KIRKUS -

‘This one is sure to leave an impression’BUST MAGAZINE -

‘A glorious representation and celebration of a spectrum of sexuality and gender, each written with pure empathy’TOR.COM -

‘A vivid, visceral text with as much of a hook as the album the stories were inspired by’LOCUS -

‘It confirms Monáe’s incredible power of imagination and creativity whatever medium she’s working in, and the ability and talent of her co-writers in bringing her vision alive on the page’FANTASY HIVE -