Futuristic Warnings in Owen Barfield's Night Operation
Keywords:society, environmentalism, language, isolation, pandemic
Owen Barfield wrote his science fiction novella Night Operation late in life in 1975, and its message is timely for contemporary society. Night Operation summarizes well Barfield’s lifelong work and writing about consciousness/thinking, history, language, and the need to live in healthy community with others and the world. Barfield’s concern for unhealthy trends in society factors into his story’s futuristic setting where people have decided to live underground in unused sewers. This novella presents a wake-up call to the disturbing possibility that people would choose such an existence, void of healthy thinking while hiding in fear from a life of wholeness with each other and the natural world. Barfield shows a way out through the friendship of three characters who start to think critically and make healthy choices for their future, an invitation for readers to consider as well.