Fictional Character
A Different Flesh
POD: C. 2.5-1.3 million years ago;
Relevant POD: c. 1492
Appearance(s): "And So To Bed"
Type of Appearance: Direct
Species: Sim
Occupation: Servant

Tom was a male sim purchased by Samuel Pepys in 1661. Tom and a female, Peg, became domestic servants in the Pepys household. While watching Tom and Peg, Pepys developed the transformational theory of life.

Pepys quickly determined that sims did not have the intelligence of humans but were smarter than any other animal he was acquainted with. From previous reading, he knew that sims used fire in the wild but were unable to start a blaze on their own. He tried an experiment where he demonstrated to Tom how to start a fire with flint and steel. He then handed the implements to Tom and gestured for the sim to do the same with a small pile of kindling and wood that Pepys had previously prepared. Tom was clumsy at first but managed to strike sparks and start a fire. He demonstrated his understanding of his accomplishment by capering around the kitchen.

This set Pepys to thinking further, along with his observations of a shimpanse in the London menagerie. The animal was more bestial than a sim and yet more human than any other animal. This indicated to Pepys that there was a more gradual variation between humans and other animals than one would first consider.

Further inspiration came early one morning a few days later when Pepys was awakened by a disturbance in the kitchen. A cur dog had entered and attempted to steal a flitch of salted bacon. Tom tried to stop it but the dog proved to be more agile and succeeded in seizing the bacon and escaping. Tom gave chase but returned dejected and empty-handed. Pepys jokingly told Tom that it was well that men dwelt in England and not sims, else wolves would still roam the streets of London. This was the final piece of the puzzle, that those organisms most capable of surviving produced the most offspring which lead to their continued existence while less capable organisms died out. This insight led directly to Pepys' transformational theory.

Literary comment[]

On most of the occasions when "And So To Bed" is printed as a standalone story, this character's name is Will rather than Tom.