Singer Janelle Monáe is releasing an anthology of “Afro-futuristic” short stories inspired by her most recent album, 2018’s Dirty Computer.
The “Tightrope” singer shared the book’s official cover on Instagram on Dec. 2. Titled, The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer, the sci-fi and Afro-Futurism-based novel will include short stories penned by Monae and five of the most “talented female and non-binary writers” in today’s literary world. It’s scheduled to drop on April 19, 2022, via Harper Voyager Books and is available for pre-order now.
A description of the book details that The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer brings “the written page” to Monae’s Afro-futuristic Dirty Computer world. It’ll explore 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.”
“Who holds your memories?,” Monae asked her followers on Instagram.
After sharing details about the book’s release, the eight-time Grammy-nominated singer said, “D*mn, I can’t believe I’m typing that. Sci-fi and Afro-Futurism have always been vehicles I use to drive my art & storytelling (no matter the medium) so it’s a dream to be publishing my first short story collection in these genres! Thank you to everyone at @harpervoyagerus for the support and opportunity.”
The collection will include Alaya Dawn Johnson’s The Memory Librarian, Eve L. Ewing’s Timebox, Yohanca Delgado’s Save Changes, Sheree Renée Thomas’ Timebox Altar(ed) and Danny Lore’s Nevermind.
“It’s been a complete honor to swim in creative waters with other dirty computers in our community. I’m so so thankful for these incredible writers for helping bring these stories to light,” Monae wrote, before saying to her followers, “I humbly thank you for taking a byte with me as we dig deeper into the world and stories of Dirty Computer.”
Monae’s Dirty Computer album “introduced a world in which thoughts — as a means of self-conception — could be controlled or erased by a select few,” detailed Haper Voyager Books in a statement shared with The Bookseller back in July. “And whether human, AI, or other, your life and sentience was dictated by they who’d convinced themselves they had the right to decide your fate.”
“That was until Jane 57821 decided to remember and break free,” it said of one of Monae’s characters from the project who’ll reappear in the upcoming anthology.
If you’re interested, pre-order the collection here.