Between late 1970s and the mid 1980s, Gunderloy published several other zines in addition to F5 — and given the haphazard nature of how these zines were tucked into Box 9 of the archive, there were probably a lot more than just eight nine ten (I keep finding more and more in my files), and several of them appear to be one-offs, though it’s admittedly difficult to be sure. They include (and in no particular order):

  • Accumulations (perzine)
  • Egocentricity (apazine)
  • Nugatory Nuisance (apazine)
  • The Dismal Lich (gaming zine)
  • Amanuensis (quillzine?)
  • Beaucéant! (apazine)
  • Incalculable Tedium in the Frozen Land (perzine?)
  • Gunzine (interview zine?)
  • Halt, Passenger (apazine)
  • The Muzak News (apazine)

Since most of these were apazines, surely Gunderloy’s involvement in the sci-fi fanzine community meant there were more. In fact in Issue #1 of Amanuensis, a one-off “quillzine” of his sci-fi fiction that was written concurrently with F5 and when Gunderloy was 25 years old (1984), he reflected on his history as a writer:

“I’ve been writing stuff for just about as long as I can remember. My earliest publications were semi-humorous semi-underground paper in 5th grade. Through junior high and high school I was in various creative writing anthologies and then co-edited a full-blown underground paper. My senior year in high school I discovered fandom and I’ve published something approaching 3000 pages of fanzines since then, mail in APAs. Currently I’m writing for around ten apps and doing xx columns for various fanzines.”

His earliest writings in the archive start in 1978 with Accumulations, a perzine he started in California when he was just 21, just a few years out of high school (although he was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, I’m not sure where he went to high school). Accumulations chronicles his daily life from December 1978 to May 1980 (then there’s a gap and an issue or two from 1984).

I haven’t read these very thoroughly, but it’s clear from this zine that Gunderloy wrote every damn day and one can surmise from his early involvement in fandom and the nature of his perzine that there wasn’t much of a distinction between writing and publishing, whether the output was a mimeo, dot matrix printer, or offset press. For him, writing was publishing. And in that sense, an early DIY ethic comes through, one predicated on trial and error, where success meant someone responded. It’s obvious that F5 rendered visible a counterpublic of zines (and in some ways, one could argue it created it), but that came only thanks to Gunderloy’s prolific publishing, even when that meant a project had a very brief lifespan. 

Gunderloy would write and publish about his motives throughout his reign at F5 both within its pages and when he opined for others, such as he did in a 1987 issue of Toronto’s The Blotter, where he distilled his desire into two primary reasons: inertia and fascination. Of the former, Gunderloy described it as the “enormity of the task” — but not so much an inertia to circulate ideas as much as a fear of disappointing his fellow small press publishers if he quit, the enormity of having to explain it to them. He shared this slightly tongue-cheek, lamenting writing refund checks to zines like POND SCUM JOURNAL and wasting his bulk mailing rate renewal; yet the inertia felt palpable as Gunderloy described the state of his house as he prepped yet another magnanimous issue:

“There are letters and rejected illustrations strew across the floor of the living room. In the basement, the photocopier is out of dispersant, having made one too many dummy pages for layout. Upstairs in the study, things are no better, with fanzines spilling out of cardboard boxes, stacked high on the desk, and crammed into filing-cabinet drawers. (There are, of course, never enough drawers for the fanzines received). And of course the mailbox is already spewing forth things to be reviewed for the issue … as if writing 428 fanzine reviews for the current issue wasn’t enough.”

But really it was the second thing that drove Gunderloy to dedicate 90-100 hours per week to putting out F5: his fascination with the small press. After disclosing that he walked away from “a moderately successful career as a science fiction fan,” where he edited zines and printed APAs, his craving to write and publish ultimately led him back to F5. 

This seems slightly revisionist, because as far as the archives demonstrate, Gunderloy not only read and wrote every single day, he published nearly every single day. In his perzine Accumulations (started in December 1978), for instance, he reflected on everything, from the deep to the mundane; regardless if he was ruminating on a new job in LA, detailing a trip to rendezvous with other sci-fi fans in NYC, or contemplating his relationships with his partner or roommates, whatever he was absorbing, Gunderloy was documenting as much of it as he could.

Introspection aside, he was open-minded, endlessly curious, and dedicated to the free press, and especially to the freedom of the small press. In his essay for The Blotter, Gunderloy describes his role as “part cheerleader, part discussion facilitator, part networker,” ultimately because he believed that:

“…a healthy small press is a sign of a healthy society. Further—and I feel this is a crucial point— even the crackpot ideas must have the opportunity to find their way to the intellectual marketplace. That’s why I give equal time to the journals dealing with the Shaver Mystery, the UFOs, the flat earth, the Discordian society, and anarchy as I do to more respectable things such as literary and music magazines. I don’t think we can or should stifle this segment of society. Not only does self-publishing act as a safety valve for the lunatic fringe, it also serves to keep the mainstream thinkers at least a wee bit honest.”