Factsheet Five

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Factsheet Five
Factsheet Five #25, February 1988, featuring cover art by Freddie Baer
EditorMike Gunderloy ("Æditor", 1982–1991)
Hudson Luce (1991)
R. Seth Friedman (1992–1998)
CategoriesZine reviews & culture
Frequencyquarterly (varied)
Circulation10,500/issue (1991)[1]
PublisherMike Gunderloy (1982–1991)
Hudson Luce (1991)
R. Seth Friedman (1992–1998)
First issue1982[2]
CompanyPretzel Press (?-1991)
CountryUnited States of America

Factsheet Five was a periodical mostly consisting of short reviews of privately produced printed matter along with contact details of the editors and publishers.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, its comprehensive reviews (thousands in each issue) made it the most important publication in its field, heralding the wider spread of what would eventually be called fanzine or zine culture. A number of underground artists and writers read or submitted their work to Factsheet Five, including Julie Doucet[3] and Jonathan Lethem.[4]

Before the widespread adoption of the web and e-mail beginning around 1994, publications such as Factsheet Five formed a vital directory for connecting like-minded people. It was the literary equivalent to such phenomena as International Sound Communication in the period of cassette culture.


The magazine was originally published in 1982 by Mike Gunderloy on a spirit duplicator in his bedroom in a slanshack in Alhambra, California, though the first issue notes he was located at Hyde Park neighborhood in Boston.[5] He started publishing this zine due to frustrations over the infrequent publication of The Stark Fist of Removal, of which he was a fan.[6] The original focus was science fiction fanzines (the title comes from a short story by science fiction author John Brunner), but it included other reviews. Bob Grumman contributed a regular column on avant-garde poetry from 1987 to 1992.

Gunderloy later moved to Rensselaer, New York, where he continued to publish. By 1987, he was running a zine BBS, one of the first associated with an underground publication.[7] In 1990, Cari Goldberg Janice and (briefly) Jacob Rabinowitz joined as co-editors.[8] Gunderloy quit publishing Factsheet Five following the completion of Issue #44 in 1991.[2]

Hudson Luce purchased the rights to Factsheet Five and published a single issue, Issue #45, with the help of BBS enthusiast Bill Paulouskas, cartoonist Ben Gordon, writer Jim Knipfel, and artist Mark Bloch, who had authored a mail art-related column called "Net Works" during the Gunderloy years.[9]

R. Seth Friedman then published the magazine for five years in San Francisco, with the help of Christopher Becker, Miriam Wolf and Jerod Pore,[10] until Issue #64 in 1998. Circulation grew to 16,000 during that time.[11]

Gunderloy later worked as a computer programmer before retiring in 2020. He co-authored the book SQL Server 7 in Record Time.

In other media[edit]

Jerod Pore collected articles and reviews from the print version of Factsheet Five, and with them produced Factsheet Five - Electric, one of the first zines to use the Usenet newsgroup alt.zines. Beginning in the late 1980s, Gunderloy and Pore also established a substantial online presence on the WELL, an influential, private dial-up BBS.

Three books were published based on Factsheet Five: How to Publish a Fanzine by Gunderloy (1988; Loompanics), The World of Zines, by Gunderloy and Janice (1992; Penguin), and The Factsheet Five Zine Reader by Friedman (1997, Three Rivers Press). Until 1989, Gunderloy collected and, in turn, made available several versions of the Gemstone File. A number of Gunderloy's zine reviews from Factsheet Five also appeared in edited form in High Weirdness by Mail.

Mike Gunderloy's Factsheet Five Collection of over 10,000 zines and mail art is now held at the New York State Library in Albany, New York, where it occupies 300 cubic feet (8.5 m3).[12] However, only about 4000 zines in the collection have been cataloged.[13]

About 1/4 of the zines in the collection are listed on Excelsior, the New York State Library's electronic catalog; staff of the Manuscripts & Special Collection can help locate other items.[14]

Two hundred and forty zines that R. Seth Friedman donated are in the collection of the San Francisco Public Library.[15]


  1. ^ "Table of Contents", Factsheet Five, no. 44, p. 1, August 1991, ISSN 0890-6823
  2. ^ a b Gunderloy, Mike; Cari Goldberg Janice (1992), "Introduction", The World of Zines, New York: Penguin Group, p. 4, ISBN 0-14-016720-X
  3. ^ "Julie Doucet: How a Zine Author Went Canonical". Los Angeles Review of Books. 2022-07-23. Retrieved 2024-04-04.
  4. ^ Lethem, Jonathan (2023-08-11). "To Factsheet Five". Medium. Retrieved 2024-04-04.
  5. ^ "Issue 1". Factsheet Five Archive Project. 9 March 2022. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  6. ^ Greer, J. C. ""Zines," Dictionary of Contemporary Esotericism" (PDF). Retrieved 10 October 2023.
  7. ^ Shane Williams, Holly Cornell, Al Kowalewski, et al., "Factsheet Five: The Fanzine Fanzine," Flipside, whole no. 53 (Summer 1987), pp. 23-25.
  8. ^ Factsheet Five 38 (1990 Oct). p. 15.
  9. ^ Bob Grumman (1998-10-07), "Daily Notes on Poetry & Related Matters", Bob Grumman's po-X-cetera Blog, archived from the original on 2009-08-02, retrieved 2009-04-14
  10. ^ "Staff" (PDF). Factsheet Five. No. 48. July 1, 1993. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  11. ^ Van Vleet, Michael (1998-10-07), "Farewell, Factsheet 5?", SF Weekly, archived from the original on 2011-06-10, retrieved 2023-03-09{{citation}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  12. ^ "A Zine Lover's Dream," New York State Library News, April 1997.
  13. ^ Jeremy Gardner, "Zines in the Academic Library: A Literature Review," Archived 2010-12-19 at the Wayback Machine Library Student Journal, May 2009.
  14. ^ C. Janowsky, "NYSL Collections That Are Not in the Library’s Online Catalog," Archived 2009-10-16 at the Wayback Machine New York State Library, June 2009.
  15. ^ "Little Maga/Zine Collection History, San Francisco Public Library". Archived from the original on 2006-08-01. Retrieved 2006-08-07.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]