(1911-1969) UK author who also worked for many years in film and television production as an editor – working on three mid-1930s films for Maurice Elvey (1887-1967), including The Clairvoyant (1934) – and administrator, ending his career as head of the Film Department of Independent Television News (1963-1967). From 1942 he wrote fairly copiously in various genres, including detective and children's stories: 36 novels and one nonfiction book in all. He began writing sf with the Antigeos trilogy – The Other Side of the Sun (1950), The Other Half of the Planet (1952) and Down to Earth (1954) – some parts of which were serialized on BBC Radio. The sequence deals with the discovery of a Counter-Earth, hidden as usual directly behind the Sun, whose Utopian life, having developed only slowly an advanced Technology without violence, leaves itself open to exploitation by villainous humans. Into the Tenth Millennium (1956) concerns three people who travel into the future utilizing a Drug which slows down body metabolism; they emerge into a utopian world of great charm and interest that has been made possible, attended by much suffering, after a great Disaster had dissolved all metal and reduced the population (see Overpopulation), though one of the protagonists cannot make the necessary psychological adjustment. Capon's Utopias are in general less stuffy and preachy than most.
Most of Capon's sf was for children, beginning with The World at Bay (1953). Most notable perhaps were The Cave of Cornelius (1959; vt The End of the Tunnel 1959), in which four children find a Roman Lost World located Underground, whose inhabitants are discovered in the midst of Saturnalia; and Flight of Time (1960), a Time Travel tale whose young protagonists visit both the future and the past, having illustrative adventures in both eras. Capon wrote well and created unusually solid future worlds. [PN/JC]
see also: Children's SF; Physics.
Harry Paul Capon
born Kenton Hall, Suffolk: 18 December 1911 [12 December 1912 has also been given]
died Hampstead, London: 24 November 1969
- The World at Bay (London: William Heinemann, 1953) [hb/]
- The Wonderbolt (London: Ward, Lock, 1955) [hb/]
- Phobos, the Robot Planet (London: William Heinemann, 1955) [hb/]
- Lost: A Moon (Indianapolis, Indiana: Bobbs-Merrill, 1956) [hb/]
- Into the Tenth Millennium (London: William Heinemann, 1956) [hb/Victor Reinganum]
- The Cave of Cornelius (London: William Heinemann, 1959) [hb/G Whittam]
- Flight of Time (London: William Heinemann, 1960) [illus/hb/Marina Hoffer]
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