The Heads of Cerberus is a dystopian science fiction novel by Francis Stevens (pseudonym for Gertrude B. Bennett), The woman who invented dark fantasy . One of the first dystopian novels, the book features a grey dust from a silver phial which transports anyone who inhales it to a totalitarian Philadelphia of 2118 AD. A vial of dust sends three unsuspecting friends to a dystopian Philadelphia, set in the twenty-second century. The novel was originally serialized as a five-part serial in the pulp magazine The Thrill Book from August 15 to October 15, 1919, and was first published in book form in 1952. A scholarly reprint edition was issued in 1978, and a mass market paperback by in 1984. Gertrude Barrows Bennett (1883-1948) was the first major female writer of fantasy and science fiction in the United States, publishing her stories under the pseudonym Francis Stevens. Bennett wrote a number of highly acclaimed fantasies between 1917 and 1923 and has been called the woman who invented dark fantasy . Her most famous books include Claimed! (which Augustus T. Swift, in a letter to The Argosy called One of the strangest and most compelling science fantasy novels you will ever read ) and the lost world novel The Citadel of Fear. Bennett has been credited as having the best claim at creating the new genre of dark fantasy . It has been said that Bennett s writings influenced both H. P. Lovecraft and A. Merritt, both of whom emulated Bennett s earlier style and themes .