“The Happy Smiley Writers Group got together after National Novel Writing Month 2008 and created this book because… We want some happy endings, darn it!”

Code: Voyance, by Joelyn Yep
Inside Out, by Viki Chua
Izanami, by Yuen Xiang Hao
The End of a Date, by Lina Salleh
The Journal of Azarus (Extract), by Clarence Tan
Dirty, by Maisarah Binte Abu Samah
Hope in the Ruins, by Chen Ziyang
Happiness at the End of the World, by Rosemary Lim

This bodes well for Fiction writing in Singapore. That was my first thought.

Eight stories, all with an end-of-world/ post-apocalyptic theme. And with a positive ending, or an ending with an inferred sort of happiness. Hence the title.

Easy-to-read short stories.

These eight stories show promise, and some of them were quite enjoyable to read. This is not merely a polite statement.

I managed to read ALL stories from start to finish, which is more than what I can say about Harry Potter (not that it isn’t good but it just wasn’t my thing). The “Happy Smiley and Friends” group have created neat little short stories. It’s easy to read, if you give it a chance.

Some stories have become more enjoyable the second time i read them (yes, i even managed to read them a second time, and not because they weren’t clear in the first instance). The writings were largely crisp and pretty much flowed along.

I would even venture that if the book was published in a pulp magazine format, much like the early days of Astounding, there might even be a different flavour to the whole reading experience.

Perhaps it’s the inevitable that some stories just didn’t quite capture my imagination. It wasn’t so much the plot or any particular aspect. Maybe I was in a different mood.

These eight authors are promising writers, whose story ideas and characters that could be delved further. The basics of good story writing is there, in my amateur opinion. Technically (in terms of grammar and spelling etc.) there are no cause for complaints.

P134. Author’s biographies
P137. A preview of the novel, “Bubble G.U.M”