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Commitment Hour

(League of Peoples #2)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  543 ratings  ·  41 reviews
In the twenty-fifth century, Tober Cove is a wonderful place to be. With most of Earth's population long since departed for other planets, and with them the technology that makes such a journey possible, life here is simple and serene--especially for Fullin, a gifted musician whose talent commands many times the wages of a farmer or fisherman. But Fullin is twenty years ol ...more
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published 1998 by Avon EOS
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3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  543 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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This book was pure joy for me to read. I loved everything about it -- the world, the characters, the very idiosyncratic voice. After I came down from my reading high I found myself poking holes in some of the assertions about the world, suspect of the ways Gardner chose his characters to discourage the reader from thinking about aspects of it, but that didn't dampen my love for the experience. However, I cannot talk about the book without spoiling something that the back cover plays very coy wit ...more
Baal Of
May 31, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cucumber
After enjoying the hell out of Expendable, I started this book with anticipation, and much to my chagrin found myself bored 100 pages in. Here we have a backdrop of the League of Peoples, a galaxy spanning collective of alien races, and we are stuck on fucking Earth, dealing with the lives of humans left behind who perceive the aliens as gods. How fucking boring. I get what Gardner was doing with the exploration of gender roles, and the concepts of non-binary gender, but really, this story could ...more
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
Well, this was an unusual book. I read it right after "Expendable," the first in Gardner's League of Peoples series. Word to the wise, this book is not a continuation of Festina Ramos' story.

It does, however, take place in the same universe. On old Earth, where a small village allows its people to switch sexes from one year to the other until their 20th birthday, when they can settle on their ultimate choice. You see this all through the eyes of our lead character Fullin, who moves from one gen
Carolynne Raymond
A friend had recommended this one to read. I read this one mostly while on holiday and would read a bit here and there. I had a really hard time getting into it and I am not sure if it was because I was only reading it in short bursts or if it was because of the story itself (I don't know) I just felt there was a lot of explaining to the book's world, and less story being told.
The friend asked me what I thought about the story while I was in the middle of reading it. I mentioned the above and sh
Oct 20, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenne by: Jo Walton
Shelves: sf
He had a cool idea, a society where you change gender every year till you're 20 and then you have to pick one (or both)...but then he went and did absolutely nothing interesting with it.

The characters were flat, there was basically no insight into gender roles whatsoever, and pretty much everything that could have been really thought-provoking or challenging just...wasn't.
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Had some interesting social issues that might have been more risqué back when it was published, but over all it was just okay. The writing was very simplistic (almost seemed like a YA novel except for the subject matter), the protagonist was mostly annoying. The other characters, although mostly pretty two dimensional, at least provoked some sympathy. Read this for my book group.
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
interesting story line. but the selfishness of the main character is hard to swallow...
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The setting is a future Earth with less technology (generally.) In particular, a village which has a mythology and pantheon of gods it believes influences things. What makes this particular village of interest is that its rituals and gods have children (age 1 - 20) switch from one gender to the other each summer solstice. The two main characters are just reaching age 20, at which time each person is to choose the gender with which he/she will live the rest of his/her life.

Although the book is no
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I'm enjoying this series so much I'm not sure whether to move right on to the next book, or take a break for a bit.

Loved this one, not least because my father lives on the "Bruise" Peninsula :-) Lots of fun worldbuilding around that.

I was afraid that this series would end up all being about the same characters, so I was glad that we moved on to a different world and different characters. Interesting concepts, and societies...I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
Florian Holzner
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like the ideas around cloning and sharing experiences of multiple bodies. This has been one of my favourite SciFi topics so far, and this is one of the more clever ideas: instead of more of the same, give people a taste of different sides. I wish this was actually possible.
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very interesting story. Usually I won't read Fantasy, but this one had great imagination. Too much violence though or I might have made it a 5. Quite interesting being able to choose one's sex.
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
I like the concept but it was a really slow start for me, which made it a tough read overall.
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Not an uninteresting premise, but an awfully slow start. It takes a while book to get through 12 hours in a certain day.
Chris Hargreaves
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Get On With It!
Way too slow and repetitive.
Brian Gaston
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I like Gardner's style of writing and humour. His characters are always interesting and carry this book about gender bending ideas. Good read.
French Giant
Quite an oddly interesting read. The bizarre nature of the novel's subject matter, a village whose inhabitants switch sexes every year until the age of 20, is what initially piqued my interest. This is not to say that I've ever had the urge to alter my own sex mind you, but rather I was curious to see how the author would pull off such a feat.

How weird would it be to change your sex on a yearly basis. Seriously, think about that for a second. To wake up one morning and find your body completely
Michael Burnam-Fink
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, sci-fi
Commitment Hour is a removal from the galactic exploration and politics of Expendable, towards an investigation of a very unusual small town. Tober Cove is a unique town, where children switch genders each year until they age of 20, where they must commit to one gender for the rest of their life. Fullin is a talented young musician, trying to avoid his soon-to-be jilted lover, when on the night before commitment he's visited by a powerful Spark Lord and a hated Neuter exile from his village, com ...more
Stuart Dean
Sep 02, 2016 rated it liked it
When aliens come to Earth they offer to take humans to the stars and 80% of the planet leaves. The ones that stay behind descend into preindustrial superstition laced with future tech. In one isolated town the people switch annually between sexes, male one year then female the next, every year until they reach 20, then they have to commit to one sex.

It's basically one big "coming out of the closet" story. Fullin, currently male, has reached 20 and today is the day he has to decide whether he pre
Kathryn Patterson
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
"Commitment Hour" by James Alan Gardner explores a special day in the life of Fullin, a resident of Tober Cover. The residents of Tober Cove switch genders from birth until Commitment Day in their twentieth year, when they choose male, female, or both.

The story begins the night before Commitment Day, with Fullin and Cappie separately sitting vigil in the surrounding area, attempting to reason out which gender each wants to choose. Two strangers arrive and the world as everyone knows it implodes.
Andy Goldman
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating book about a small village on future Earth where children switch gender each year until having to choose "Male, Female, or both?" upon reaching adulthood. Part of the story is unlocking the mystery of that setup, but that's not the major part of the book (or it wasn't for me). Instead it's an interesting "what if?" to examine gender roles, belief, and traditions.

While it exists as part of the larger League of Peoples series, this could easily be read as a standalone novel.

Sep 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've read all of Gardner's stories, but this one holds a special place in my heart because not only is it written with the same superb style and attention to detail of every word, every sentence, that Gardner is so supremely capable of, but also because of the surprise ending; an ending suitable for transsexuals who have not yet decided whether or not to ultimately have genital surgery. At about $30,000 US dollars, and no insurance coverage, the decision to have such surgery is not to be taken l ...more
Lesya BlackBird
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had read all the books in the Expendables series and was expecting a similar type of book as this is also in the League of Peoples series, but it wasn't. All the Expendables books were set off Earth and featured Festina Ramos, but this one was set on Earth and didn't feature Ramoes. As it wasn't what I expected it took me a little time to get into it.

The story is set in less than 24 hours about the coming of age of two characters and the traditions of the small community they live in.

Once I go
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love the League of People's books. This one takes place on Earth after most sentient people left for a cleaner, safer world, though some folks like to come back with their shiny toys and show off. In one small town, the people alternate between a year of being male and a year of being female. After giving birth to a child, each person must commit to being male, female, or both. In addition to a little murder mystery, the book raises some interesting questions about gender.
Kevin Brown
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-ficition
I found this book probably the weakest of this entire series.
The author's attempt to look at both sides of the male/female dynamic through the use of characters which experience both sides one year at a time was not as engaging as his work normally is. For a full review of this book check out my video.
For a look at the series as a whole check out this video.
May 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting sci-fi read that deals with issues I've never seen attempted before in the genre. That being said, I think Gardner handles the whole thing rather clumsily, and the writing can be fairly juvenile at points. The description on the back claims that Gardner "dares to pose critical questions about the human condition - and answer them", but I'm not sure if it carries through. Entertaining, but ultimately not insightful.
Jul 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Once again, Gardner had a unique idea for his book. Unfotunately I found the beginning rather slow and I didn't really care about the main characters fate. The end was intrigueing, but a little rushed. Overall the book wasn't very balanced. However, I look forward to reading more of Gardner's work.
Joey Geraci
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved this book all the way up to the end. I'm not sure how I feel about the conclusion (I'm still processing). It makes sense, but it was jarring. And I really wish we could have seen a little more of what happens in the Cove when the children come back. It kind of felt like it just ended a little early.
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The thought of not having to choose, absolutely, your gender till your maturity -- and getting to try both!! CCOOOOLLLL!

It actually kinda reminds me of a converstion from CSI that Grisham had with a tranny.
Sian Morgan
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
If I could give a fractional rating this would be a 4.5, but some reservations leave it at a 4 here. so easy to read yet full of interesting world building and ideas, looking forward to reading more in this universe.
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Raised in Simcoe and Bradford, Ontario, James Alan Gardner earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Applied Mathematics from the University of Waterloo.

A graduate of the Clarion West Fiction Writers Workshop, Gardner has published science fiction short stories in a range of periodicals, including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Amazing Stories. In 1989, his short story "Children o

Other books in the series

League of Peoples (7 books)
  • Expendable (League of Peoples, #1)
  • Vigilant
  • Hunted (League of Peoples, #4)
  • Ascending (League of Peoples, #5)
  • Trapped (League of Peoples, #6)
  • Radiant (League of Peoples, #7)