He’s oozy and slimy, resembles a fried egg, and is probably judging you right now. He’s the Ovum known as Splot.
In Life in the ‘Cosm, we learn that several years before the story begins, Virj Ofreesin finds an alien known as an Ovum on his breakfast plate at a cheap diner. Instead of eating him, or reporting the restaurant to Planet Cinneh’s food inspection authorities, Virj takes the little guy home as a pet and gives him the name Splot.
The two beings form an interesting pair-bond, and Splot begins to communicate with Virj telepathically. While the Ova use telepathy to talk to each other all the time, an Ovum can only choose one person outside their species to speak to in this fashion. Splot chose Virj. Sounds sweet until you discover the types of things Splot actually says.
“Seriously, what are you, some kind of numpty?”
“Not now, Splot.”
Poor Virj can also pick up Splot thinking aloud or speaking to another Ovum, just like one’s overhears someone talking.
“Don’t look at me! It’s not my fault he’s useless with women!”
“I heard that!” shouted Virj from the hallway.
And it’s extremely difficult for Virj to have a bit of erm, um, self-caring private time, because the Ovum crawls all over the flat and can appear out of nowhere.
[Virj’s] breath burst out of his lungs. That didn’t take long.
“What the blazes are you doing with that thing?” asked Splot.
I had a lot of fun writing Splot’s dialogue, because it was often one line here and one line there. (Personally, I think Splot says the things that many of us are thinking. ) And because he only has these huge eyes to gesture with, I needed to face the challenge of making that work, too.
One time I was fooling with my stylus and I came up with this sketch:
His expression made me laugh so hard. I felt it relayed the essence of his character, and used it as an emoji of sorts when communicating to my friends in private messages. Often, I prefaced the image with the line, “I’m making the Splot face.” It’s such a perfect catch-all for when you want to be a little judgmental, but still funny.
Whenever I hear a reader tell me they also love Splot, it makes me happy. I love him, too. He’s on my screen looking at me right now, just like that sketch, wondering why I’m not writing my second book. An odd sort of motivational poster, but it works for me.