The Mating Tree
by Mae-Ann Powers, paranormal (2005)
Phaze, $2.00, ISBN 1-59426-526-7

I have a hunch that this story is meant to touch me in some deep, enlightened metaphysical manner in some scene straight out of a sex-goddess new age drama with me breathing heavily as I writhe on my chair while reading this story on my PC as the crystals forming a circle around me and my PC glow brightly. And then, the UFO will show up and take me to this happy planet where all I have to do to have multiple orgams non-stop is to go to the Mating Tree and pray to the Tree God to grant me a silent hung stud for my birthday.

At least, that's how our heroine Eria finds her lover, under the Mating Tree during the Warm Season after having her heart broken twice by men who don't appreciate her sullen and whiny nature enough. A part of me is hoping that the hero is a tree, which would some interesting reading, especially when it comes to all those branches the hero could put to good use if he's like those treants in those Lord of the Rings tales. Alas, he's humanoid, only brown in color, apart from that golden orb that our heroine loves to feast on. I'm afraid to ask what exactly that golden orb is. If it's supposed to be what I think it is, that would be like trying to swallow a snooker ball stuck at one end of a billiard stick. Let's just say I'm not a big fan of autoerotic asphyxiation stories.

The author writes in an atmospheric manner, with her prose sometimes coming off too much on the self-consciously bombastic side (which results in guffaw-inducing missteps like the succulent golden orb of the hero), but it is a style that is appropriate given the story's surreal premise. However, the heroine is too one-dimensionally childish and petulant and there aren't enough sensual elements in this story to allow me to enjoy The Mating Tree more. Even when the story is being sensual in a florid purple manner, up goes and shines the golden orb and I am reduced into hysterical laughter. The Mating Tree is only moderately entertaining, and even so, it's entertaining for all the wrong reasons.

Rating: 51

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