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Dawn of Flame. In this short novel by SF Grand Master Stanley Weinbaum, we meet Margaret of Urbs--"Black Margot"---the despotic, immortal ruler of all that is left of the world after a cataclysmic war, desperately trying to maintain the last dregs of civilization...and her love for a man sworn to overthrow her...
The Queens of Outer Space and The Firebrands of Science Fiction. Two anthologies of short stories and novelettes from the early decades of the 20th century featuring great heroic female characters.
Queens of Outer Space coming soon.
Jack Williamson's third published SF story, The Moon Era, features perhaps the first non-human, extraterrestrial female character in the genre. The Mother is one of the last of a race of ancient beings that inhabited the Moon millions of years before humans evolved on Earth. She must battle against the evil Eternal Ones for the survival of her race.
J. Sheridan LeFanu's Carmilla (1872) is a classic vampire story and probably the first great novel of the genre.