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The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of…
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The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer (edition 2022)

by Janelle Monáe (Author)

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1342173,308 (3.71)4
In The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer, singer-songwriter, actor, fashion icon, activist, 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 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.… (more)
Member:vmaganti
Title:The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer
Authors:Janelle Monáe (Author)
Info:Harper Voyager (2022), 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe

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Musician, actor, and fashion icon Janelle Monáe adds author to her many skills with this collection of stories rooted in the dystopian future world previously explored in her music. Each story is co-written with another talented Black author. The stories are set in a near-future authoritarian state called New Dawn where people live under constant surveillance, have their memories harvested, and those who don't conform - especially LGBTQ people and people of color - are classified as "Dirty Computers."

These stories include that of Seshet the memory librarian, a high ranking official in New Dawn, who begins to explore life on the "wrong side of town" with a new transgender partner. A commune of women who've found refuge from New Dawn at a place called Pynk Hotel discover a traitor in their midst. A lesbian couple discover a room in their house outside of time with each responding to it differently. And a family are able to travel one by one into a future where they find they've been liberated giving them hope to make it a reality.

It's an interesting collection of sci-fi/Afrofuturist stories that very much parallels our real world struggles. The stories can be didactic in their messaging but honestly sometimes need to be told bluntly. While this type of fiction is not typically something I would enjoy - and I'll confess that some elements went over my head - I am glad that I read this book and would recommend it to people who like this genre and fans of Monáe. ( )
  Othemts | May 8, 2022 |
As an aged millennial, I've already fallen victim to music fossilization. I knew a few Monae songs from the radio, but had never sought out her albums because I can't seem to get over the music collection I had in college - isn't it lucky that the best music ever made was made when I was young?

All I mean to say is that I went into 'The Memory Librarian' with no preconceived notions or preparations or whatever to the world Monae and her collaborators share here. It was fantastic. It was sad. It was real. I wanted more from each and every character at each story's conclusion. Dystopian science fiction can be easy to falsify, but Monae's stories ask hard questions and a reader can see the path between our world as it is and the world of Dirty Computer. There is real substance here.

Needless to say, I bought the album as soon as I turned the last page. ( )
1 vote ManWithAnAgenda | Mar 24, 2022 |
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Janelle Monáeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Delgado, YohancaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ewing, Eve L.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Johnson, Alaya DawnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lore, DannyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Thomas, Sheree R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Turpin, BahniNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer, singer-songwriter, actor, fashion icon, activist, 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 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.

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