Spaceman: What Are the Gorompeds?

In Netflix’s science fiction film ‘Spaceman,’ Hanuš the Spider is not the only extraterrestrial being that appears before the protagonist Jakub Procházka. After entering the cosmonaut’s spaceship, Hanuš lets the former know that he had to disappear from his home planet after it was evaded by the Gorompeds, a group of parasitic creatures that fed on other living beings on the spider’s planet. Even though Hanuš manages to remain alive elsewhere in the universe, the Gorompeds finally close in on him, breaking the heart of Jakub, who loses his companion at the end of the movie. While the film doesn’t dive too much into the Gorompeds, it isn’t the case with the source novel! SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Mystery Behind the Gorompeds

‘Spaceman’ is based on Jaroslav Kalfař’s science fiction novel ‘Spaceman of Bohemia.’ In the literary work, Kalfař describes the Gorompeds as “ovum parasites” that invaded the planet of Hanuš as an army of the size of an astronaut. Like Hanuš, the planet’s Elders were clueless about what to do with the creatures, which led them to run away from them. “The Gorompeds crack the shells of the tribe’s future, feasting greedily on the embryos. Hanuš runs across galaxies and the swarm follows, a black hole swallowing everything in its path,” Kalfař wrote about the extraterrestrial creatures.

After meeting Jakub in the movie, Hanuš tells him that he was in the orbit of Earth, where he learned about human beings and their languages and cultures. In the source novel, Hanuš arrives in the Milky Way, which includes Earth, upon getting chased by the Gorompeds. “The world feels empty, he [Hanuš] is alone, and so he stops and waits for the Gorompeds to find him, as there is no life without his tribe. But the Gorompeds do not come, and Hanuš sleeps from exhaustion and again wakes in a place he has not encountered before, a place known by its inhabitants as the Milky Way, and he is alive, alive though he knows the Gorompeds are bound to find him, whether tomorrow or in two million years,” the book further reads.

Hanuš describes the Gorompeds as the agents of destruction to Jakub in the novel. “They killed them all, skinny human. If I do not show you, there will be no witness left. They came to eradicate us. This is the Gorompeds’ only purpose. Our destruction,” the spider tells the cosmonaut. In the movie, Hanuš eventually reveals to Jakub that the Gorompeds did find a way to enter his body. Possibly fearing that the extraterrestrial creatures would harm his companion, he leaves Jakub’s spaceship to let the parasites devour him. In the novel, however, the Gorompeds bother Jakub as well.

“He [Hanuš] was nothing more than a small sack of skin whirring with the vibrations of the feeding Gorompeds, his eyes dead, his lips dark. Only after he had floated away did I realize that the Gorompeds, having leaked from his pores, were swarming around my arm, my shoulder, my helmet—and suddenly they were inside my suit, biting into the flesh of my armpit and groin,” reads ‘Spaceman of Bohemia.’ After getting rescued by the crew of another spaceship, Russian in the novel and South Korean in the film, Jakub continues to fear whether the Gorompeds are breeding somewhere inside him to consume him as they did with Hanuš.

In ‘Spaceman of Bohemia,’ Jakub’s encounter with the Gorompeds extends to him trapping a single entity in a jar to torture it. Since a group of Gorompeds kills the cosmonaut’s companion, Jakub expresses his anger by making one of them suffer. “The Goromped had become an important part of my daily routine […]. I smoked my morning cigarettes inside and found that if I let a bit of smoke inside the jar, the creature would become momentarily paralyzed. While it lay on the bottom of the jar, I stuck the burning cigarette against its hard belly and heard a faint, high-pitched whistle that came along with a headache,” Kalfař wrote in his novel.

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