In The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer, singer-songwriter, actor, fashion icon, futurist, and worldwide superstar Janelle Monáe brings to the written page the Afrofuturistic world of one of her critically acclaimed albums, exploring how different threads of liberation—queerness, race, gender plurality, and love—become tangled with future possibilities of memory and time in such a totalitarian landscape…and what the costs might be when trying to unravel and weave them into freedoms.
Whoever controls our memories controls the future.
Janelle Monáe and an incredible array of talented collaborators have crafted 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 you were human, AI, or other, your life and sentience were 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 society . . . and what it takes to get out of it. Building off the tradition of speculative fiction writers such as Octavia E. Butler, Ted Chiang, Becky Chambers, and Nnedi Okorafor—and filled with powerful themes and Monáe’s emblematic artistic vision—The Memory Librarian serves to readers tales that dissect the human trials of identity expression, technology, and love, reaching through to the worlds of memory and time, and the stakes and power that pulse there.
JANELLE MONÁE is widely celebrated as an American singer/songwriter, actress, producer, fashion icon, and futurist whose globally successful career spans over a decade. With her highly theatrical and stylized concept albums, she has garnered eight Grammy nominations and has developed 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 will star in the highly anticipated sequel Knives Out 2. The Memory Librarian is her debut book.