Morpheus Tales is a UK-based indie horror fiction ‘zine that’s been making a big noise on the horror, weird fiction and dark sf/f/ scene for the past few years; a must-read for horror fans who want to know what’s new, exciting and downright bizarre. To mark the on-sale date of a wide range of back-issues and special issues of the ‘zine plus three full-length anthologies at the Robot Trading Company webstore, publisher Adam Bradley very kindly took time out of his incredibly hectic schedule to answer a few quick questions, introduce the magazine and its mission, and share a few plans for the future.

The Best of Morpheus Tales, volume 1The Robot Reader: What’s the philosophy and ethos behind the Morpheus Tales magazine?

Adam Bradley: Morpheus Tales was started in 2008 by three friends who wanted to produce a magazine of horror, SF and fantasy, with a reviews section. The reviews section swiftly grew too big to be contained within the pages of the magazine, and became the MT Supplement, our free online magazine. To begin with the SF and Fantasy would be a story or two in the magazine, but as we grew in popularity and more submissions came in the focus has been more towards darker fiction. We’re now predominately a horror magazine, but sometimes with a hint of dark sf or dark fantasy.

TRR: What sort of writers and what sort of fiction are you most interested in publishing?

AB: Morpheus Tales Magazine has developed over the years, we now publish less fantasy and sf. The market demands horror, and we aim to deliver. There are still some dark sf and dark fantasy pieces, and we always enjoy a just plain weird story, but the focus is definitely darkened. We like a variety of horror, from the literally gut-wrenching, to the subtle quiet horror that creeps up your spine.

TRR: If you could publish short stories by any three writers – blindingly obvious megastars like Stephen King or James Herbert aside – who would they be, and why?

AB: We’ve actually been lucky enough to have worked with some of our heroes. Joe R. Lansdale, Ray Garton and Joseph D’Lacey have appeared in the magazine. In 2011 we published our first original anthology which featured established authors Andy Remic, Gary Fry, Gary McMahon, Joseph D’Lacey again and Shaun Jeffrey. Alongside writers we’ve worked with before and watched grow and become successful, such as Alan Spencer, Eric S. Brown, Fred Venturini, Andrew Hook, Matt Leyshon and Tommy B. Smith. And Wayne Simmons featured in our free Christmas Horror Special Issue.

Of course there are loads of other writers we would like to work with including Stephen King, James Herbert, Clive Barker, and Neil Gaiman. There are so many talented authors it’s difficult to narrow it down but Adam Nevill’s work is very impressive, we would love to publish a story by Dan Simmons, Peter V. Brett, Peter F. Hamilton, and Jonathan Maberry. Ok, if we could only publish three, it would have to be Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and Dan Simmons, personal heroes.

TRR: What are the most rewarding elements of running your own magazine and what are the biggest challenges?

AB: The amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to get an issue ready is incredible, but that’s just when the real work starts. Promoting and marketing a released issue just as hard as putting it all together, reading through hundreds of submissions, paring them down, finalising the line-up, editing the stories, proof-reading them, lining up artists to illustrate the stories, then putting it all together.

Fortunately we have a great team of regular writers, artists and proof-readers who are basically essential to the magazine running. Working with those people, none of whom are paid (neither are we!), is what makes running a magazine and a publishing company rewarding. Seeing the success of writers you’ve worked with, publishing an author for the first time, that’s amazing.

TRR: What would be your advice to anyone else thinking of starting their own short fiction publishing operation?

AB: Build a good team before you even think about doing it, because there’s a damn lot of work! Then try to work out what you want to do, and then just do it. There’s nothing to stop anyone starting a publishing company in these days of printing on demand or ebooks. But don’t do it for the money, do it because you love it!

TRR: What does the future hold for Morpheus Tales, both on the magazine and anthology fronts?

AB: On Halloween we launch our first single author collection. Matt Leyshon, who has appeared in the magazine several times, and has completed The Function Room: The Kollection, which we’re really excited about publishing.

In November we have a new special issue coming out entitled Women in Horror (featuring interviews with scream queens, tattoo artists, and models), and our Apocalypse special issue should be out next year.

Plus, Morpheus Tales #19 will be out in January 2013. We may well be putting together the stories for the Morpheus Tales: The Best Weird Fiction Volume 3, and thinking about another original anthology (perhaps Neil Gaiman, Dan Simmons and Stephen King will be able to spare us a story!)

Go Here for More Information:
Morpheus Tales ebooks at the Robot Trading Company