Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Commitment Hour” as Want to Read:
Commitment Hour
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Commitment Hour

(League of Peoples #2)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  536 ratings  ·  39 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
Paperback, 343 pages
Published April 1998 by Eos (first published January 1st 1998)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Commitment Hour, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Commitment Hour

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  536 ratings  ·  39 reviews

Sort order
Paul Nash
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my ALL TIME FAVORITE sci-fi books...period! Enough said!!
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
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
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 20, 2010 rated it did not like it
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.
interesting story line. but the selfishness of the main character is hard to swallow...
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
Brian Gaston
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Chris Hargreaves
Get On With It!
Way too slow and repetitive.
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I like the concept but it was a really slow start for me, which made it a tough read overall.
French Giant
Feb 16, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 21, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Kevin Brown
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.
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sam Maynard
May 20, 2016 rated it liked it
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Fredrick Danysh
In the distant future only a few humans are left on Earth. They change sex every year until choosing their final gender as an adult. Fullin must make his choice but someone is battling over which of the three genders he and the other children should be. This story is just plain weird.
Sian Morgan
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.
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Joanna Chaplin
I liked the first one better, but there were some interesting bits here, too.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Halfway Human
  • Shadow Man
  • Design for Great-Day
  • Regenesis (Cyteen, #4)
  • White Queen (White Queen, #1)
  • The Diamond Moon (Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime, Book 5)
  • A Different Light
  • Scardown (Jenny Casey, #2)
  • Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction
  • PoMoSexuals: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality
  • The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard
  • Raptor
  • Cagebird (Warchild #3)
  • No Phule Like an Old Phule (Phule's Company, #5)
  • Jaran (Jaran, #1)
  • The Silver Lake (Warriors of Estavia, #1)
  • Way of the Pilgrim
  • A Matter of Taste (Dracula Series, #6)
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)