Mike Gunderloy often hosted large parties at his house in Rensselaer, just across the Hudson from downtown Albany, or as his party flier described it, from “the bowels of the [New York] state government.” He would convene dozens of self-publishers from all over the northeast, including the late Peter Lamborn Wilson (aka Hakim Bey), David Greenberger (Duplex Planet), anarchist Bob Black (who had been thrown out of certain parties), and Pagan Kennedy (Pagan’s Head). Archived ephemera include a single-page mailed invitation, a sign-in sheet, as well as letters of regret and thanks. One letter from this time reports an animated scene, and Gunderloy’s specific ability to offer “zingers of dis-political wit.” However, Gunderloy himself reported that it was also quite nerdy. In a footnote from a personal interview with Gunderloy from Zines: Notes From Underground, Stephen Duncombe says this:

“In describing parties he used to throw for zine publishers at his house in upstate New York, Mike Gunderloy highlighted their odd dynamic: people would come, talk to one another for a bit, then invariably retreat alone to corners, walls, nooks, and crannies and start reading each other’s zines” (201 n3).

Welcome to the Factsheet Five Archive Project. This site is dedicated to making sense of the magazine’s history and legacy and, in that process, share the work of (and ideally network with) some of the amazing editors, contributors, readers, advertisers, and other associates involved with Factsheet Five (F5) from 1982-1998. In those 16 years, much of it pre-www, F5 exemplified that it was “the paragon of network zines” (55) as Stephen Duncombe described it in his groundbreaking 1992 book, explicating pages upon pages of zine reviews, materializing as readers sent in their own zines. While numerous network zines preceded F5 (specifically APA or sci-fi data zines), and have sprung up since F5 (including Broken Pencil, to name a current one), F5‘s longevity, its proximity to the popularization of the web in the mid 1990s, and specifically Gunderloy’s politics and dedication, led it to be arguably the most influential corpus in zine culture’s history. This project aims to document that history by sharing images from back issues and archived correspondence, and through whatever tidbits of secondary sources encountered along the way, including scholarly work like Duncombe’s, interviews with Gunderloy and other collaborators, and hopefully feedback from anyone who might be reading this. It should be noted that the history of zines can and have been told through many lenses and entry points and while this is just one of them, it’s about time someone attempted to share it. Please send corrections, questions, or comments to curator [at] f5archive.com or connect with us on Instagram or Twitter.