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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Time Zones and Other Tales is a work of fiction in the anthology, psychological, and speculative fiction subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience and was penned by author Real Carpentier. In this fascinating collection of works, we are first introduced to the titular tale Time Zones, an extended novella about protagonist Gabriel Jackson. When Gabriel loses time and suddenly gains it back, a mental reboot is done to try to make sense of it all. From here, the speculative and curious nature of the book continues with short stories that explore memory problems, how the brain handles surreal experiences, and neurodivergent thinking patterns.
Author Real Carpentier clearly has a passion for telling stories that toy with the reader’s mind, and I found this work to be engrossing because its narrative structure was so unique. In the titular story, there’s much to discuss regarding the nature of time, memory, and how the brain chooses to retain information. This poignant collection of themes is beautifully encased in a story with character development at its heart. Gabriel was a figure that gripped me from the off, and Carpentier’s effective and atmospheric writing brings a physicality and emotional realism to each character that makes them feel fully fleshed out. As such, we become invested in even the smallest characters, from tales of infidelity and betrayal to much larger tales. I was especially fascinated and heartbroken by the portrayal of Alzheimer's. Overall, Time Zones and Other Tales is a must-read for fans of well-considered conceptual short stories.