Maxine McArthur's Time Past is a science fiction novel that packs a punch. It is a political novel set in the near -- and distant -- future and shows the ambition of an anxious and likeable heroine.
Commander Halley is from the space station Jocasta in a time nearly a quarter of the way through the millennium. But when she attempts stealing a jump drive from the Four to deliver to the Confederacy, the plan explodes in her face. She travels back in time and thinks she is returning to planet Earth, 2027. This would allow her to make contact with a species of alien that possess the technology to help return her home.
She soon realizes, however, that it is only 2023, four years before contact is made. She finds herself trapped in a small community on the outskirts of Australia. The climate is bad, the people dangerous. Her only hope is to stay alive until she can manage a way to return home.
What Halley doesn't know is that forces are working against her in the future and in the present to prevent her from returning -- and both adversarial parties will stop at nothing to prevent her from going back. She is in a deadly race against time: if she doesn't escape from Earth and back to the future soon, it may cost her her life.
Full of action, plot twists, and great characters, Time Past is what science fiction writing is all about. McArthur fires short, choppy sentences at the reader with machine-gun impact. She is creative and resourceful. I look forward to going back and reading her first novel, Time Future.