Leonid Gorbovsky

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Leonid Gorbovsky is a fictional character in Boris and Arkady Strugatsky's series of science fiction novels set in the Noon Universe.


Leonid Gorbovsky's birth year is unknown, but most probably he was born in the end of the 21st century, because in 2104 he already participated in the mission to Cepheus led by August-Iogann Bader. Back then Bader was the captain of the ship, while Gorbovsky was mere a scientist under his command, but by 2118 he was already famous enough for his space adventures to be a role model for many boys back on Earth (e.g. Gennady Komov). His first spaceship had the name "Tariel".

In 2119, Gorbovsky was one of the main scientists behind the development of the "Venus Project" and in 2121, he was working again with August Bader on the artificial satellites of Vladislava. Although their interests barely intersected (Bader was exploring the satellites, while Gorbovsky landed on the planet hoping to find a Wanderers' city on the surface), both of them were able to understand each other and create a s.c. "Wanderers' Road" list - a list of star systems, where the traces of Wanderers' activities were most like to be found (e.g. Saula was on that list, too).

Gorbovsky was the one who discovered Leonida (maybe, even named after him) in 2133, but soon after the discovery he had to leave the planet due to health problems of his crew members and leave Gennady Komov in charge. However, Komov only stayed there for a short time, too, and left immediately after the discovery of Leoniders' civilization. Gorbovsky led the consequential negotiations with Leonida on behalf of Earth World Council and COMCON. By that time he was already a prominent and influential member of both these organizations.

In 2137, Leonid Gorbovsky briefly participated in the discussion of the "Stepchildren Case", but has shown little interest in it.

He was also on Rainbow in 2156, when the infamous incident with the Wave took place. He was the captain of "Tariel II" spaceship ("Tariel I" was probably destroyed prior to that), that delivered special equipment to the scientists on the planet. During the catastrophe, Gorbovsky's ship was used to evacuate all children to space, but since she was the only one on Rainbow, all adults had to stay on the surface. It is unknown, how Gorbovsky survived the catastrophe, since he abandoned "Tariel II" (leaving Stanislav Pishta, his first mate, in charge of her) to make more room for the children.

Leonid Gorbovsky reappeared in space five years later, when the "Ark Project" commenced in 2161. While showing no interest in the original goals of the operation, he changed his attitude after a contact with Ark Megaforms was established. As a member of COMCON, Gorbovsky tried to join the Komov's party in the area of contact, but hasn't succeeded and had to stay away from it. He advised Komov many times not to force a contact on Megaforms, but he didn't listen, even though in the end Gorbovsky turned out to be right.

Leonid Gorbovsky's last famous activities in the 22nd century were those connected to the "Great Revelation". In 2199 he and Gennady Komov represented the human race in their negotiations with Ludens (represented by Daniel Logovenko).

Gorbovsky is famous for his habit of lying down to rest on any horizontal surface accessible. He motivates it by saying that in a space flight, he may not do so, therefore he tries to compensate it by "reducing the entropy of the universe" on any other occasion. This habit has caused a lot of jokes about him.

See also[edit]

Leonid Gorbovsky appears in Noon: 22nd Century, Far Rainbow, Disquiet, Space Mowgli and The Time Wanderers. He is also briefly mentioned in Escape Attempt and Beetle in the Anthill.