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The Memory Librarian

By Janelle Monáe
The Memory Librarian by Janelle Monáe digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

New York Times bestseller!

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 albumsexploring 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.

16 Reviews

Expressionless Face“I spent a lot of time, while reading this book, not caring for the events that were taking place. I really enjoyed a couple of the scenarios and outcomes, but the stories around them we're my cup of tea. The book has multiple short stories all existing in the same dystopian. Now having finished it, I would have been okay abandoning it part way through. I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to, but I would still suggest it to sci-fi lovers.”
ComplexFuturisticHauntingThought-provokingUnengaging characters
Thinking Face“I absolutely love the idea of exploring a world through short stories of various people with various backgrounds. I loved all of the characters and how they were all different and interesting. As usual with a short story collection I found some more interesting than others, but I don’t think I ever found myself bored with any of them. My favorite was probably Nevermind and my least favorite was probably the memory librarian. I also loved how gender and sexuality was explored in this.”
Believable charactersDiverse charactersMulti-layered charactersBeautifully writtenComplexCreative settingFuturisticImmersive settingMeaningfulThought-provoking
Thinking Face
Diverse charactersOriginal writingUnpredictableImmersive settingThought-provokingBigotryHomophobiaRacismTransphobiaViolence
“If you know me, you know I am a Janelle Monáe stan. Dirty Computer is one of my favorite albums of all time & so this book was great for me. It coincides with her album in a really great way, and it really expands upon the themes of the album & gives more context to the songs. I feel like you definitely have to listen to the album before and after reading this. It would still be enjoyable without having listened, but listening makes it much more special! This was a beautiful collection of stories in the world of Dirty Computer, that deals with themes of gender & sexuality, freedom & rebellion, and what it means to be an outsider. The sci-fi world created bends time & technology in many ways, which adds a grittiness & humanity to the characters. The technology heavy world heightens the human emotion felt by the characters, and puts the awareness of social hierarchies into sharp focus. Janelle has always had a really astute awareness of broader cultural themes, and the examination of race, gender/sexuality, and liberation feels really relevant. I liked this book a lot!”

About Janelle Monáe

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.

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