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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Books

Reasons to Be Cheerful

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Reasons to Be Cheerful

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Author: Greg Egan
Publisher: Interzone, 1997

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Book Type: Novelette
Genre: Science-Fiction
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A 12-year-old boy develops a deadly brain tumor that inadvertently floods his system with Leu-enkephalin, the neuropeptide that triggers happiness. Unwaveringly optimistic at his chance of survival, the risky surgery that saves his life also ends the euphoric bliss, leaving his brain with a cavernous hole where the pleasure centers used to be. The 18 years of sadness that follow are a downward spiral of despair, and as a last resort he agrees to another treatment that gives him conscious control over what makes him happy. As he attempts to re-enter the world beyond the hospitals and his gloomy apartment, he faces the ultimate dilemma of self-control ... how happy would you be if you could make yourself as happy as you want?

Locus nominated novelette, Aurealis nominated short story. This novelette originally appeared in Interzone, #118 April 1997. It can also be found in the anthologies The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifteenth Annual Collection (1998), edited by Gardner Dozois, and The Hard SF Renaissance (2002), edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer. The story is included in the collection Luminous (1998).


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