Classic Science Fiction
“Reads like dynamite. ...a rare and academically fascinating piece of work, apart from the fact that it moves well and entertainingly. It tackles something fundamental to the human spirit, and conscientiously does it at least well enough to shake any notion that these matters have been sufficiently settled by other artists. – Algis Budrys, Chicago Sun-Times, April 22, 1979
“Thought out to an uncommon degree, Onopa's tale of stranded/psychologically manipulated astronauts proceeds on several levels of significance. It uses as a metaphor the conversion of space into time at the “event horizon” of a black hole. In the eyes of the reader, Onopa's hero, Rawley Voorst, may have actually returned to Earth from his starship mishap and is being subjected to subtle interrogation techniques. Or maybe he and his mates are actually still lost among the stars. An outstanding achievement; for sophisticated sf readers and those who recognize literature in whatever guise. – Booklist, May, 1979
“...neatest literary trick of the year. ...this book will still be around, and referred to among us, years from now.” – The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, May, 1979
“Well-written and daring, The Pleasure Tube acts as a bridge between the Old Wave and the New, and if for no other reason than that should be read and enjoyed by sf readers of all persuasions. – Dewlap's Library Journal, April/May, 1979
“A guilty pleasure.... – io9.com (We come from the future), November 26, 2008
“Onopa's The Pleasure Tube moves quickly, with a lot of variety, like the space cruise that provides the novel with its title. The science fictional content is highly phildickian, though sexier and more amoral than the usual fare from the Prophet Phillip. Paranoia, visionary and ecstatic states, social and psychological manipulation, and memory failure are all central to the story. It is set in an undated future where interstellar travel is an experimental reality, and humanity has been consolidate under a single, bureaucratic government with research, military, and commercial elements sometimes at cross-interests. The futurological elements of the story hold up pretty well, for a book written thirty years ago. The book was published a hair earlier than the release of the Disney space adventure movie The Black Hole, and like the movie, it uses the astrophysical phenomenon of the collapsar as a source of metaphysical reflection. While the reflection of The Pleasure Tube is considerably deeper and the science less distorted, these two different works demonstrate the degree to which 1979 was steam-engine time for the naked singularity.
Onopa's epigraph for the novel is a quote from Plato: “The highest pleasure of an organism consists of its return to its own true nature.” A more modest yet very genuine pleasure can be found reading this book. – LibraryThing.com, July 16, 2009
Robert Onopa's short stories from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction are collected in 2020, an eBook published by Electric Story in 2002. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Hawaii, and lives on Oahu.