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. 

The title “Factsheet Five” was inspired from a story by British sci-fi writer John Brunner. Yet, in true zine fashion, Gunderloy didn’t announce this from the get-go. Rather, in a section in Issue #1, he implored his readers to guess the reference through a contest:

“First person to identify the source of the title will win something. I have no idea what and do not guarantee it will be worthwhile or fun.”

By Issue #2 — started just 25 days later — guesses and other correspondence from readers were pouring in. As the project grew in length (from a double-sided single sheet to 6 pages) and circulation (50 to 75, per his report), Gunderloy playfully spliced their comments throughout:

“FACTSHEET Five. Hmmm. I don’t know, but does the title have anything to do with your high school newspaper?”

“‘Factsheet Five’ sounds like 1) A new punkrock group  2) travel itinerary for the Fifth Buddha or 3) 5 employees of a consumer protection agency got arrested and are having the ACLU represent them.”

Perhaps as a result of these misses, Gunderloy sweetened the deal in Issue #2 to include a year’s subscription to F5 “and other valuable considerations” — and provided a clue:

“HINT #1: Look between Time-Jump and Total Eclipse”

The hint must’ve worked because by Issue #3, begun in mid-July 1982, reader and longtime sci-fi fanwriter Arthur D. Hlavaty guessed it. Gunderloy wrote:

“Sorry, but the ‘identify this title’ content is no longer open. The lucky (and I use the term loosely) winner is Arthur D. Hlavaty, who writes:  ‘I seem to recall factsheets in a John Brunner story (with ‘factsheet’ in the title), but do not have my library here to check.’ That’s close enough for me. The title of the story was (strangely enough) ‘Factsheet Five,” and it appears in the collection FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, which was published between the appearances of TIME-JUMP and TOTAL ECLIPSE (two other Brunner books).”

While this story indeed appears in Brunner’s 1972 short story collection, it was actually titled “Factsheet Six” and originally published in 1968 issue of Galaxy (Bruner would go on to win the Hugo award for his novel Stand on Zanzibar the following year). In later glossaries of F5 (and perhaps other issues) Gunderloy would correct himself: 

“FACTSHEET FIVE: Title of a short story by John Brunner. Actually the story is ‘Factsheet Six’, and it originally appeared in GALAXY magazine from 1968. It’s reprinted as part of Brunner’s collection FROM THIS DAY FORWARD (Doubleday, 1972). The FACTSHEET in the story is a sort of psychic consumer magazine whose publisher is ultimately killed by a person who he has negatively reviewed — something which seems close to what I’m doing all the time.”

As for Hlavaty’s reward, Gunderloy noted that:

“Our lucky winner will now find it impossible to get off the mailing list until this rag folds. In addition, he receives a computerized Dobbshead personally autographed by Dr. Armand Gideon, and the cap from a bottle of Moosehead beer. Lucky him.”