John Golden: Freelance Debugger and John Golden & The Heroes of Mazaroth by Django Wexler science fiction book reviewsJohn Golden: Freelance Debugger and John Golden & The Heroes of Mazaroth by Django Wexler

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsJohn Golden: Freelance Debugger and John Golden & The Heroes of Mazaroth are two related short urban fantasy novellas by Django Wexler. I discovered these at Audible. Both stories are read by Kevin T. Collins and Jorjeana Marie. John Golden: Freelance Debugger is 2.5 hours long and John Golden & The Heroes of Mazaroth is 2 hours long. I recommend the audio versions, but you can also get them in ebook or, in the case of John Golden & The Heroes of Mazaroth, paperback.

John Golden is an IT guy in an alternate version of our world in which fairies — and we’re talking the nasty type — can infiltrate computer systems and create problems with software code. John has a special talent. He is able to physically enter the system and try to exterminate the fairies. The fun part is that the fairies create worlds in the software, so when John goes in, he seems to be entering a virtual world where he has to either negotiate with, trick, or battle the fairies.

In John Golden: Freelance Debugger, we meet John and Sarah, his little sister whose consciousness happens to reside in John’s laptop due to some tragic event we didn’t witness. Sarah, whose commentary runs through the story in footnote format, advises John and helps him on his quests by providing virtual equipment such as weapons. In this first story, John’s help is (ironically) requested by a network security company that specializes in anti-fairy software. Something unusual is going on at that company and John and Sarah need to figure out what it is. Fortunately, they will have some help from a cute girl who works in the IT department. This story is unique and engaging. I loved John Golden’s voice and I liked the other characters, too.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsI liked John Golden & The Heroes of Mazaroth even better, though. When John is hired to debug a company’s network, he goes in and discovers a gothic setting including a fairy who calls himself the Dark Lord. The Dark Lord is depressed and refuses to move, which is why the software won’t work. To get him to leave, John must take the Dark Lord’s place in a popular MMORPG and change the story in some way that will motivate the Dark Lord to move. This humorous story is an entertaining parody of medieval fantasy MMORPGs.

These two short works by Django Wexler were quick, fun reads. I hope Wexler will be publishing some more JOHN GOLDEN stories. If so, I’ll buy them.

Publication date: 2014. JOHN GOLDEN IS A DEBUGGER: he goes inside the computer systems of his corporate clients to exterminate the gremlins, sprites, and other fairies that take up residence. But when he gets a frantic call from Serpentine Systems, a top-of-the-line anti-fairy security company, John finds out he’s on much more than a simple smurf-punting expedition. With the help of his sarcastic little sister Sarah (currently incarnated in the form of a Dell Inspiron) and a paranoid system administrator, John tackles Serpentine’s fairy problem. But the rabbit hole goes deeper than he thinks, and with the security of all of the company’s clients in danger, there’s more at stake this time than John’s paycheck!


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.