The Heads of Cerberus

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The Heads of Cerberus
Heads of cerberus.jpg
Dust-jacket from the first edition
Author Francis Stevens
Cover artist Ric Binkley
Country United States
Language English
Genre Science fiction novel
Publisher Polaris Press
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 191 pp
OCLC 3102548

The Heads of Cerberus is a science fiction novel by author Francis Stevens. It was first published in book form in 1952 by Polaris Press in an edition of 1,563 copies. It was the first book published by Polaris Press. The novel was originally serialized in the pulp magazine The Thrill Book in 1919. A scholarly reprint edition was issued by Arno Press in 1978, and a mass market paperback by Carroll & Graf in 1984.[1]

Plot introduction[edit]

The novel concerns people who are transported to a future totalitarian Philadelphia in 2118, after inhaling a grey dust.


Groff Conklin called it "perhaps the first science fantasy to use the alternate time-track, or parallel worlds, idea."[2] Boucher and McComas praised the novel as "a slightly dated but still originally imaginative and acutely satiric story.".[3] P. Schuyler Miller found Cerberus "dated and old-fashioned," but noted it was "a pioneering variation on the parallel worlds theme."[4]

Everett F. Bleiler described the novel as "highly imaginative work, one of the classics of early pulp fantastic fiction," commenting that despite simplistic characterization, "the cynical anti-authoritarianism" in the description of the imagined future culture "is refreshing." Bleiler also noted that the novel's resolution "is a fine anticipation of the work of Philip K. Dick."[5]


  1. ^ ISFDB bibliography
  2. ^ "Galaxy's 5 Star Shelf", Galaxy Science Fiction, December 1952, p.124
  3. ^ "Recommended Reading," F&SF, October 1952, p.99
  4. ^ "The Reference Library", Astounding Science Fiction, September 1952, p.170
  5. ^ E. F. Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Early Years, Kent State University Press, 1990, p.704