The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer

by Janelle Monáe (And contributing writers)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Each short story featured in this book offered an interesting view of the world that was created. It is best to go into this book with at least a little bit of knowledge already from the source material, but I don’t think it’s necessary in order to enjoy the book. I just think it will help you grasp the content a bit quicker. Though I will admit I do wish there was more world-building overall to help me connect more with the people and conflicts. I did enjoy some stories more than others, but none were bad. I also liked that each of the stories had subtle connections to each other that tell a larger overall story.

All My Thoughts

May contain spoilers.

I enjoyed this book a lot. Each of the stories included was good, but I did enjoy some more than others. Nevermind was definitely my favorite of the collection followed very closely by The Memory Librarian. Both of these stories had characters I enjoyed more than the others. These two stories I also felt gave the most information to help readers understand the world.

Because the book is based on the fictional world created in Monáe’s conceptual album, it doesn’t really provide a large amount of context. It is easier for fans who have a working knowledge of Monáe’s music and the fiction she created with it to go into this book. You’ll have a decent amount of background knowledge already. While this is the case, I don’t think you really HAVE to already know these things before reading the book. The book doesn’t hold your hand through each story and give you the setup to understand what is happening, but it does provide just enough context as you go to understand what is happening and the tragedy that surrounds the world as it is presented. I admit been having some base knowledge going in I actually would have liked a wee bit more, but I also get that this was the intent of the book so it definitely didn’t hurt my enjoyment overall for the book. Each story sort of adds a bit more to what you already know, but from different perspectives. Getting to see this world from the eyes of those with authority and those with absolutely none was enlightening and really helps fill in the context if you are paying attention.


A deep and enlightening sci-fi that really hits close to the heart. It builds on and brings a new dimension to an already incredible concept.

Book provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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