The earliest issues of F5 showcased the range of fringe cultures being stitched together through its pages: Flat Earthers and other conspiracy theorists, parody religions, psychics, anarchists, libertarians, sci-fi fans, punk rockers, even newsletters that reviewed laundromats. Twenty-ish issues later — as F5 circulation jumped from 150 copies to 2,000 — the message was the same; in a 1987 an interview with the punk fanzine, Flipside, Gunderloy said:
“I’ll send F5 to whoever will send me $2! One purpose it serves is to get people interested in things… there are natural links between the punks and the anarchists and the Subgenius…”
F5 served as a space for uniting these links, but Gunderloy wasn’t just interested in making these connections through print; from the very beginning he participated in discussions on various BBSes across the U.S. One segment from Issue #1 teased:
“415-821-1714, 415-928-0641, 314-227-4312 were running some ah, interesting computer bulletin boards the last time I checked. Not for the easily offended.”
While these area codes are from San Francisco and Saint Louis, Issue #2 noted a Boston-area BBS called “The System,” for “Strange personal computer owners” and operating late into the night and early morning.
In the same Flipside interview, Shane Williams noted that:
“Mike is probably the first underground publication to set up and operate their own Electronic Mail Bulletin Board System.”
Although this interview says that the F5 BBS had only been up and running for two months (inspiring Flipside to start their own), Gunderloy had been involved in BBSes for quite some time and his technical abilities, tenacity as a writer and publisher, and his desire to connect with freaks and geeks everywhere led to the fast ascension of F5 between 1982 and 1987.