Janelle Monáe has earned critical and commercial success spinning sci-fi stories into funky concept albums. She'll now bring the world from her albums into book form.
The Memory Librarian and Other Stories from the World of Dirty Computer will be published by HarperVoyager on April 19, 2022. Monáe and a team of as-yet unannounced writers will collaborate on these short stories set in the world of her last album, 2018's Dirty Computer. Set in a dystopian future dominated by mind control, the album followed Monáe's character, Jane 57821, attempting to break free of mental constraints placed upon her by society. The Memory Librarian will pick up from where the album left off, 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," according to a statement.
“As a reader and writer of science fiction since childhood, it is a dream to have the opportunity to expand Dirty Computer into a literary project," Monáe said in a statement. "Writers, specifically Black, queer and genderqueer, are at the forefront of pushing the creative boundaries of sci-fi and speculative storytelling. I'm honored to be collaborating with a new generation of creators as we expand this tale...into a larger world of new and familiar characters. I hope this book can be a gesture of appreciation to all my dirty computers and fandroids who have supported and inspired my vision thus far."
Dirty Computer's catchy melodies - some reportedly made in collaboration with Prince before his passing - earned the singer her second Top 10 hit album and was named the best album of the year by The New York Times, NPR and The Associated Press. The set was also nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards.