“The First Days of May,” Claude Veillot, 1961, trans. Damon Knight — An alien species (dubbed Shrills) fills a conquered earth with horrific and deadly sounds. Their natural ability to produce supersonics gives them an advantage, and they rout humanity within a week. A man hides in a hotel room for four days, then gains the courage to search for his wife. He learns that she may be in one of the camps the invaders have set up, a mysterious place where humans seem to be living some semblance of normal life. On the way, he encounters human collaborators who herd humans into these camps. Once there, he learns that the humans there are to serve as incubators for the alien young. They’re hanging from the walls (in a fashion that calls Aliens to mind), and it’s clear he’ll encounter the same fate. He catches sight of a woman who reminds him of his wife and asks to be placed next to her.
Comments: Themes of invasion, dignity, loyalty. See Dave Truesdale’s review of the story as part of a larger discussion of the “invasion” theme in SF. He notes that when the protagonist is taken to the human camp, the story takes a “dark turn” and conjures images of a Nazi internment camp. Read in A Century of Science Fiction. Damon Knight’s introduction mentions the magazine Fiction, the French edition of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, where he notes that quite a bit of talent was nurtured under the guidance of Maurice Renault and Alain Dorémieux.
Author: ISFDB entry