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These are the chronicles of a book addict, a photo junkie, and an aspiring author, rewriting the very fabric of reality one page (and one snapshot) at a time. From the strange to the unusual; the abandoned to the abnormal; the haunted to the historic; the supernatural to the surreal; the forests of dark fantasy, the cemeteries of gothic horror, and the post-apocalyptic ruins of science fiction are the landscapes of my imagination.
For his second John Golden tale, Django Wexler adds another layer to his cyberpunk magical fantasy. We already have a world in which fairies inhabit the internet, infecting networks with their magical burrows, butHeroes of Mazaroth kind of turns that mix on its head, with a fairy Dark Lord who has escaped a MMPORG, tired of beating off human players who only re-spawn a few hours later, to infect a company's intranet.
This is a very strange sort of clash of cyberpunk and urban fantasy, with a noir detective style of narration, but it works. It's also a remarkably funny story, with much of the humour driven by John's assistant, trapped inside his laptop, who provides running commentary on his narration through footnotes.
The Dark Lord feels like a Monty Python sort of character, a tired, bored, frustrated fairy who just wants to be left alone. He understands the tropes and the stereotypes, is entirely self-aware of how poorly his costume and his lair adhere to those standards, and gets entirely far too excited at the prospect of bigger spikes, darker leather, and volcano lairs full of blood. Watching John take his place in the game is fun, but it's when he encounters a human player who recognizes that he's more than just a re-spawned villain that the story gets really interesting.
More short story than novella, Heroes of Mazaroth is a perfect length - long enough to satisfy, but not so long as to overstay the humour of its welcome. It also works perfectly fine as a standalone tale, so don't worry if you haven't read the first John Golden tale.