Several of the stories in Ethan Chatagnier’s collection of short stories Warnings from the Future are interested in creators, in how artists across a variety of media contend with their more famous precursors ... While the stories expose systems of terrifying power in familiar settings—cops, corporations, dogmas, and demagogues—unexpected complexities and inverted dynamics continually crop up to distance the stories from didacticism or overfamiliarity ... Just when you might think you’re full-up on powerful stories, you come to 'Dentists,' the final story in the collection—the shortest, the most urgent, the most narratively simple, the most ethically complex.
Warnings from the Future is the first collection of stories from Ethan Chatagnier. Despite the vivid title, it is not a succession of screeds from an apocalyptic wasteland. In fact, the collection does not adhere to a consistent mode, and as such avoids becoming monotonous. Regionalism is also not strongly emphasized. Fresno, California appears as a backdrop a few times, but I actually come away from this text having learned far more about Boston. Certain readers may balk at this de-centeredness. Others, I hope, will find it refreshing. Time, place and 'theme' can be superficial, default, and — in the worst case — sectarian lodestars for a collection of fiction. Warnings from the Future does away with these constraints and instead offers wide ranging narratives of genuine interest.
These stories include a wide array of American jobs and types. There’s a police officer, a physician’s assistant, an engineer at a seed company, artists who work in various media, sexually ambiguous students at a Christian college, and even an assistant manager ... Chatagnier is at his best when plumbing the emotional depths of ordinary lives rather than musing about the origins and value of art.