To Serve Man

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I just watched Twilight Zone, Episode No. 89 To Serve Man (1962).

The story is set in what appears to be the present time (i.e., 1962), in cold war America. Aliens “Kanamit” came to Earth and they communicate the purpose of their mission “to bring to you the peace and plenty which we ourselves enjoy, and which we have in the past brought to other races throughout the galaxy.”  The aliens soon supply Earth with cheap unlimited power, innovative nitrates for bringing life to deserts in which to plant crops and end famine, and force-fields for every country providing an impenetrable cloak through which no missile can penetrate (to end wars).  At a summit meeting of the United Nations one of the Kanamit accidentally leaves a book behind, which scientists try to decipher.  It all seems too good to be true as the Kanamit arrange for humans to visit their home planet via ten-year “exchange groups”, with promises of all the luxuries on Earth.

The translation of the book proves to be difficult and when the humans finally succeed the title reads “To Serve Man”. What’s the catch? Did the Aliens really intend to bring selfless, altruistic Aid to the humans?

In my opinion, this is one of the best Twilight Zone episodes. Goofy, funny, corny, creepy, yet shocking!  A weird take on development aid, fifty years old but just as cynical as what continues in this field to the present day.

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