Futuristic Warnings in Owen Barfield's Night Operation


  • Tiffany Brooke Martin


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.

Author Biography

Tiffany Brooke Martin

Tiffany Brooke Martin completed a Ph.D. in English and the Teaching of English from Idaho State University. Her dissertation was on Owen Barfield’s writings with a focus on fantasy and fiction. Tiffany has other publications on Barfield and is an adviser and editor for the Owen Barfield Literary Estate. She also serves as assistant production editor for the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts. Tiffany currently works as global editorial content manager in communications for Roquette, an international company that produces plant-based ingredients for health and nutrition markets.