Ethan Chatagnier on Bending Genre and Communicating with Aliens
In Conversation with Lindsay Hunter on I'm a Writer But
Welcome to I’m a Writer But, where writers discuss their work, their lives, their other work, the stuff that takes up any free time they have, all the stuff they’re not able to get to, and the ways in which any of us get anything done. Plus: book recommendations, bad jokes, okay jokes, despair, joy, and anything else going on that week. Hosted by Lindsay Hunter.
In this episode, Ethan Chatagnier discusses his debut novel, Singer Distance, bending genres, finding his way to a novel he could complete, doing just enough but not too much research, getting owned by copyeditors, and more!
From the episode:
Ethan Chatagnier: I loved that idea, of communicating with aliens—not through radio messages or anything at all sophisticated—but by digging a big hole and setting it on fire. So lo-fi! It’s people, way before modern technology, reaching out into the heavens and trying to get a response.
And I thought it’d be really interesting if a civilization did respond. What if they got an answer? And the angle that appealed to me was, what if there was a civilization there and they kind of responded, but they really didn’t care?
A Pushcart Prize winner, Ethan Chatagnier’s stories have appeared in the Kenyon Review, Georgia Review, and New England Review, and been listed as notable in The Best American Short Stories. He is the author of the story collection Warnings from the Future and lives in Fresno, California, with his family. His new novel is Singer Distance, a propulsive, genre-bending debut novel that asks: what happens when we discover intelligent life just next door? And what does it really mean to know we’re not alone in the universe?