Book review: Everything Under the Moon, edited by Michael Earp

A beautiful collection of original and reimagined 'fairy tales told in a queerer light'.
queer fairy tales. Image is a smiling bearded man with multicoloured framed glasses and one big dangly multicoloured earring on the left, and a book cover on the right depicting an oval green landscape image with a river and crescent moon, surrounded by foliage.

Everything Under the Moon is a gorgeous anthology of fairy tales written with a lens that centres LGBTQIA+ characters and their stories. Editor Michael Earp has curated 12 stories by Australian authors, both established and emerging, who have used the format of the fairy tale to tell stories of queer love, determination, steadfastness, joy and agency.

These stories are wholly original, bringing a new and distinct flavour to well-known favourites, or crafting completely new narratives that have a fairy tale feel about their execution. Several of the stories are recognisable if you squint: a Cinderella story that is a cross between Maid in Manhattan and The Bachelor, a Rapunzel story with Artificial Intelligence and conspiracy theories – set in space, a Snow White set in a high school that mirrors issues around TikTok and body image. 

These versions may sound like the well-known iterations have been copy-pasted into a more modern setting, but the character names and some story themes are all that are recognisable in these stories. They are more like fully original tales with a fairy dust sprinkling of familiar flavour, so that when you read them you find yourself in completely new territory, with well-worn signposts the only markers that remain of the old stories. 

This collection is wonderfully imaginative and puts queer characters front and centre, where they shine with a rainbow of emotions and agency, living full lives, making mistakes, falling in love, rescuing family members, and visiting strange and hostile planets.

Read: Book review: The Flirtation of Girls/Ghazal el-Banat, Sara M Saleh

I’d recommend this book to lovers of queer stories, fairy tales and imaginative short fiction – the collection hits all the right notes.

Everything Under the Moon, edited by Michael Earp
Publisher: Affirm press
ISBN: 9781922863645
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 208
Publication date: 10 October 2023
RRP: $35

Jemimah is a Gippsland-based writer and editor working in fiction, creative nonfiction, and newsletters. She reads and reviews books, edits work for other writers, and publishes the fortnightly Substack newsletter The Brew. Find her on Instagram and Facebook.