Derrick Bell’s The Space Traders is Still Relevant

In 1994, HBO ran a Twilight Zone style show called Cosmic Slop. It was a three-part television show focused on science fiction.

One of the episodes, The Space Traders, was based on a sci-fi short story by Derrick Bell.

Its subject is the arrival of apparently benevolent and powerful extraterrestrials that offer the United States a wide range of benefits such as gold, clean nuclear power and other technological advances, in exchange for one thing: handing over all black people in the U.S. to the aliens. The story posits that the people and political establishment of the U.S. are willing to make this deal, passing a referendum to enable it.

HBO took Bell’s story and made a 32:00 story. It’s still as compelling to watch as it was back in the mid 90’s. The short stars Robert Guillaume, Tom Finnegan, Craig Kirkwood, and Stryker O’Rourke.

Even with this story being almost 25 years old, and the CGI looking much older, its commentary on politics, race, and race relations is still relevant today.

The clip is NSFW due to language.