By Margot Mifflin
Updated August 01, 1997 at 04:00 AM EDT

With small publishers and alternative weeklies being snapped up and sanitized by corporate conglomerates, ‘zines — self-published underground magazines — have become America’s alternative-culture mouthpieces. The ‘Factsheet Five’ Zine Reader: The Best Writing from the Underground World of Zines from R. Seth Friedman has reviewed countless ‘zines since 1982 and here culls excerpts from the likes of 2600: The Hacker Quarterly (a guide to phone and computer invasion), Diseased Pariah News (for people with HIV and AIDS), and Grade D but Edible (a travel mag in which one writer describes a life-changing ear cleaning he got in India). If you can’t find something here that elicits a guffaw, you’ve been communing with your office chair for far too long. A-