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Janelle Monáe Is Publishing A Book Of Afrofuturism Short Stories Based On Her “Dirty Computer” Album

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BY July 8, 2021

Janelle Monáe is an artist of many diverse talents. The singer and actress is known for her love of science fiction. This is evident in her albums. From the beginning of her career, Janelle Monáe has rooted her work in the speculative and sci-fi genre. Her albums “The Electric Lady”, “The ArchAndroid” and “Dirty Computer” were all concept albums with a sci-fi aesthetic. Now Janelle Monáe has turned her attention to writing fiction, she will release a book of short stories next Spring.

Monáe Will Release Short Story Collection Based On Her Last Album

Janelle Monáe Book Image via Epic Records/Sony

The book will actually be an expansion of Janelle Monáe’s 2018 “Dirty Computer” record. It will explore and expand the stories within that concept album. It is titled The Memory Librarian and Other Stories from the World of Dirty Computer. Publisher HarperVoyager provided an intriguing synopsis.

“Monáe’s 2018 ‘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, 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.  Picking up from that moment of escape, this story collection explores 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.”

Janelle Monáe Is Already Part Of The Afrofuturist Movement

Janelle Monáe Book Image via Epic Records/Sony

Monáe has often spoken about the influence of genre fiction and media on her work. She is a notable fan of the grand Dame of science fiction – Octavia Butler. This short story collection joins a wave of Afrofuturism that has swept the genre in recent years. We have written before about Afrofuturism (and how it is different from Africanfuturism).

Monae’s concept albums have always belonged to this genre, with inspiring visions of black people in the future. Technology, personhood, and artificial intelligence are key concepts in Monae’s musical work. And we anticipate that these themes will be prevalent in her book of short stories as well.

The singer/actress turned author says: “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. 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. began with an album and emotion picture, into a larger world of new and familiar characters. Like Jane 57821, so many of us–myself included–are on a journey to thrive more and protect our freedom. 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.”

Janelle Monáe Has A Lot Of Projects Coming Up

Janelle Monáe Book Image via Epic Records/Sony

Is there anything that Janelle Monáe can’t do? Along with her highly celebrated musical work, Monáe is also an accomplished actress who won accolades for her roles in films like Hidden Figures and Moonlight. In the realm of genre television, Janelle Monáe actually got to play an android in the Amazon adaptation of Electric Dreams based on the stories of Philip K. Dick. Coming up, she will also appear in the sequel to Knives Out from director Rian Johnson.

This new book of short stories based on “Dirty Computer” by Janelle Monáe will be released on April 19, 2022.  We look forward to reading and reviewing this exciting new collection when it arrives next Spring. Are you looking forward to exploring the world of “Dirty Computer” further? Let us know in the comments, and join the conversation with Comic Years on Facebook and Twitter today!

(Featured Image Via Amazon Prime)

BooksPop Culture

Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.

AfrofuturismBlack AuthorsCollectionDirty ComputerFemale AuthorsJanelle MonàeLGBTQShort Stories

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