Old and Cold: “The Space Traders” by Derrick Bell

In February of 2016, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination published an essay by me called “A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction.” Since then Tor.com has published my in-depth essays on eleven of the 42 works mentioned. The original “Crash Course” listed those 42 titles in chronological order, but the essays skip around a bit. This twelfth column is devoted to “The Space Traders,” activist and law professor Derrick Bell’s story of aliens swapping their advanced technology for the guaranteed delivery to them of all African Americans.


That’s right. These aliens are slave traders. Or they seem to want to be. They land on the first of January and make their offer: gold, environmental remediation, and cheap, clean nuclear power in exchange for “every American categorized as black on birth certificate or other official identification.” The offer’s good, ...

Everfair by Nisi Shawl