The Act of Creation Will Be Your Salvation

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Title: The Act of Creation Will Be Your Salvation
Author(s): scifigrl47
Date(s): 10 May 2012 - 03 August 2012
Length: 84,678 words
Genre: slash fanfiction
Fandom: Captain America, Iron Man, The Avengers, MCU
External Links: The Act of Creation Will Be Your Salvation (AO3)

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The Act of Creation Will Be Your Salvation is an influential Steve/Tony story by scifigrl47. It is told from the perspective of Tony's robot Dum-E, from the MCU films, who witnesses the development of the Steve and Tony relationship. It was written over a period of three months in 2012, and posted as a WIP. As of February 2021, the fic has over 41,000 hits, 4700 bookmarks and 15,000 kudos on Archive of Our Own.


When Tony Stark was seventeen years old, he built his first AI. On that day, he ceased to be his father's creation, and became a creating force in his own right. That one act likely saved his life, and not always in the most obvious ways.


This story became the first in a series, Tales of the Bots, also called the Botverse. It is currently ongoing, with 17 instalments as of 2021, consisting of both completed fics and WIPs.


The first podfic was podficced as a WIP as the fic was being posted. The first part was posted by twilight_imp_626 on October 31, 2012.[1] However, this podfic appears never to been completed.

Another podfic by reena_jenkins was uploaded to AO3 in December 2013, and is complete.[2]



The story has inspired fanart, for example an illustration by cptnstag-xo-doe[3] and another illustration by selfmadesuperhero.[4] The latter is based on a scene in Tony's workshop after he and Steve had sex for the first time.

thesuperhusbands made a "if superhusbands fics were movies" gif art set for the story that's both fanfic cover and story illustration at the same time.[5] meantforeyesurgery made a manip that was inspired by a quote from the story. The artist describes the story as "one of my favorite fics from this pairing" and says about the manip, "I’m not trying to make this pass as a fanart from the story itself, because the scene in there is a little bit different - but the essence is the same. Also, it’s an excuse to recommend the fic again, because it’s a must read IMHO."[6]


Recs and Reviews

The story was recced from the beginning,[7] when it was still a WIP, and most recs point out that the story is really about Dum-E, Tony Stark's robot from the Iron Man movies (whose name is spelled in the story as 'Dummy', a common spelling in the fandom).

This story follows Dummy and Tony from the time Tony is 17 through the events of Iron Man 1 & 2 and the Avengers movie, all the way until the Avengers move into the towers and have been there for months.

Dummy is really the star of this series, though Tony, JARVIS, and Steve are also awesome. Scifigrl does an amazing job with Dummy's speech/thought processes and translating them into programming directives and actions, while still making him very much a robot.

He acts kind of like a really brilliant 3 year old, but has the brain of someone who has been around Tony for most of his life and knows what his "CREATOR UNIT" needs far better than any of the other human or robotic units that Tony deals with on a regular basis. And Tony in turn loves Dummy best and has no problem telling people that.

And you just have to love his attempts to find Tony's ideal life partner that harken back to the Parent Trap. This story is hilarious, heart warming, and will probably make you cry. Go forth, read, and start wishing that you have a Dummy bot of your very own.[8]
My Opinion: this fic. What is there to say? If you read it, you know it's the fanfic vice you didn't even know you had. The author was nervous about posting this because of the formatting and the fact that it's about Tony's bots, and I was nervous about reading this. It's from a hunk of metal's point of view [...]. That said, you will not regret reading it. Dummy is a character I have now fallen deeply in love with, and this Tony is absolutely heartbreaking in the fact that he needs friends. The Avengers made me smile and laugh so much, and all are so very well rounded.[3]

mizufae discusses the story at length:

look, okay, scifigrl47 is an excellent writer. As a writer of fanfic she pays attention to the aspects of a source work that I pay most attention to and others seem to not care about as much - the set pieces, the physical locations, the inanimate objects. But she communicates her stories with a humor and a lightness that plays wonderfully with what could be the coldness and seriousness of her subject matter. That’s not to say that she writes fluff. She doesn’t. But it’s always done in this greatly narrative fashion. I feel like she is saying “Come, sit here, make yourselves comfortable. Now, listen carefully. I’m going to tell you a story…”

I’ve been reading “The Act of Creation Will Be Your Salvation” since around its third chapter. It’s not, actually, about Steve/Tony. I mean, certainly, it ends up in that direction. And there’s sex. And an occasional amount of shmoopiness. But what the fic is ACTUALLY ABOUT is Dummy. And the relationship between Tony and Dummy, and JARVIS and Dummy, and Dummy and everybody else who interacts with him. Scifigrl47 makes some really interesting choices: much of the story is written in almost epistolary-like conversations between JARVIS and Dummy, in an exchange of protocol requests and explanations. But, unlike some other fics where the AI aspect of the Iron Man/Marvel universe is shown in a hard scifi manner, it’s made much more humanistic. It’s not a matter of making Dummy into a human, though. It edges right up against that anthropomorphic line. There are discussions inside of this story about sentience, and about love, and about what makes people tick from the perspective of a bot and what makes bots tick from the perspective of a person.

She uses this trick, also, where much of the more obscure, complicated concepts are reinforced later in the story by the presence of Steve Rogers, who, as he learns to interact with Dummy and Tony, expresses things that were originally written in the fic as subtext in a colloquial, more conventional way. He’s like a get out of obscurity free card of anachronism. But it’s all done so seamlessly that it really works.

Every chapter is quite long and meaty. The story takes us from Dummy’s original creation up through the years, through all the plots of the 2 Iron Man films and the Avengers, and then past it. There are points where it becomes a little slow, and points where I thought it was getting maudlin. But what I didn’t get at the time was that she was doing every single bit of it on purpose. Each moment in this story has a purpose. There is nothing gratuitous and nothing that doesn’t reinforce something else. There’s a buildup of meaning.

Absolutely worth your time to read it, and absolutely worth her time writing it. At the very end scifigrl47 leaves a note that includes “I’ve never been prouder of a piece than I am of this one”. And I think she has every right to be so.[9]

Other reviews:

This fic uses the bot's perspective to jump through time in a wonderfully unique way. Add that to incredible narration, spot-on characterization, and a slowburn plot, you've got an instant classic.[10]
Come for a view on Tony’s life, alternating between his perspective and Dummy’s. Stay for the Steve/Tony in the second half. Stick around in the following stories for the saga of Dummy sometimes being a human child and the extended Avengers family that ensues.[11]
JFC why won’t the tears stop. How can a fic be so utterly perfect and heartfelt and so fucking true I just can’t.

I have never felt so emotionally invested in an inanimate object as I have through this fic.



So very many Tony feels!! Loved this fic so, so much with all of it’s angst and loneliness and hope and humor. Dummy is the best friend Tony could every ask for, he’s perfect in every way. As is this fic.[13]
All the good feels with this one. I may have cried with joy. If you want to read an AI done right, then enjoy this bad boy.[14]


  1. ^ [PODFIC] The Act of Creation Will Be Your Salvation, Chapters: 1/8. (Accessed 01 November 2012)
  2. ^ reena_jenkins podfic
  3. ^ a b cptnstag-xo-doe. "Fanart and a Review for FIC: The Act of Creation Will Be Your Salvation". Archived from the original on 2012-12-03. , 23 August 2012. (Accessed 01 November 2012)
  4. ^ selfmadesuperhero. Based on The Act of Creation Will Be Your Salvation. You should seriously read this fic if you haven’t yet. Seriously. One of these days I’m gonna start colouring my stuff. Today is not that day. Sob. (Accessed 01 November 2012
  5. ^ thesuperhusbands. if superhusbands fics were movies - The Act of Creation Will Be Your Salvation by scifigrl47, October 2012. (Accessed 01 Novmeber 2012)
  6. ^ meantforeyesurgery. Happy #SteveTonyFest folks ♥, 01 December 2012. (Accessed 08 December 2012)
  7. ^ stevetonyrecs. The Act of Creation Will Be Your Salvation by scifigrl47 (WIP), 16 May 2012. (Accessed 01 November 2012)
  8. ^ chibifukurou in epic_recs. The Act of Creation will be Your Salvation by Scifigrl47 (R), 16 August 2012. (Accessed 01 November 2012)
  9. ^ mizufae. The Act of Creation Will Be Your Salvation. (Accessed 01 November 2012)
  10. ^ "Post at". Archived from the original on 2021-02-04. 
  11. ^ "Weekend Reading Recs: Good Tony Stark Characterization Edition". Archived from the original on 2021-02-05. 
  12. ^ "December 24, 2012 Tumblr post by paper-circus". Archived from the original on 2021-02-05. 
  13. ^ "November 12, 2012 Tumblr post by contestedspaces". Archived from the original on 2021-02-05. 
  14. ^ "Fan, 0909a0909, responding to r/FanFiction post Fic Rec Friday! July 1, 2016". Archived from the original on 2021-02-05. 
  15. ^ "August 4, 2012 Tumblr post by bunnerina". Archived from the original on 2021-02-05. 
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