How Marvel Studios Could Radically Transform Future Fiction Writing


As a movie lover, from Martin Scorsese to Brad Bird, or Quentin Tarantino to J.J. Abrams, it is now almost completely impossible to ignore the influence of Marvel superheroes on popular culture. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Stone, really, you are going to waist brainpower and our reading time on a bunch of childish GCI mediocrities?” I get it. Normally, I would agree with you. As a 22 year old, the characters and plots of these movies should be above my pretentious media consumption, (even if some of the jokes in these movies are actually funny). But what really fascinates me about all these movies is the interconnectivity between them all. It makes for a beautiful mess. When Nick Fury shows up in the first post-credits scene for a Marvel film, the first Iron Man, and asks Tony Stark to part of the Avengers Initiative, I thought it was just a really clever inside joke. Nope. Sure enough, 4 years and 4 more movies later, the first Avengers movie airs and Robert Downey Jr., (excuse me, Tony Stark), fulfills the promise he made all those years ago. It is the small little Easter eggs in every single movie that interlinks all these characters and plots that really get me. There are things behind-the-scenes that we don’t know or can’t see yet, that will gradually be revealed over a painfully long period of time. And this is the really crazy idea: all of it is canon! Meaning none of these movies can contradict each other! I mean, good heavens, Disney now has several TV shows on ABC and Netflix that are within this same universe, and these programs cannot contradict events in the movies, nor can the movies contradict the TV shows. Kevin Feige, the alleged puppet master behind this “Marvel Cinematic Universe” (MCU), claims he has ideas for movies all the way to 2028! Regardless if they will still be successful by then, the simple fact this bold team of creators is trying to implement this is wonderful.
Now, how does all this apply to future “adult” fiction writers? I think you are going to see more attempts by novelists and writers, (both on their own and in collaboration), to create fictional universes with recurring characters and plot device, but where each work somehow stands alone. This has happened before. The famous Weird Tales Trinity of the 30s: H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith are now infamous for mentioning each others monsters, characters and fictional literature in their short stories. It is now starting to happen again. Brandon Sanderson is a famous American fantasy author who has written several novels in the Cosmere universe: a place where each world is radically different from the rest in terms of magic, but there is a recurring character and mythology that somehow ties them all together. David Mitchell, the British novelist famous for penning Cloud Atlas, published a book last year called The Bone Clocks that ties all of his novels together in one really, bizarre universe.
For better or worse, I think writers are going to start taking cues from Marvel, and are going to attempt more and more often to make their stand-alone stories connect in some pretty bizarre ways. The age of interconnectivity is here, and I will gladly participate.

By: Stone Phillips

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The Goddess’s Choice Book Review

If you love fantasy, Jamie Marchant has written your favorite book. Marchant is a professor at Auburn who, in her free time, writes Korthlundia into being. There she captures the complexity of people in her characters, and weaves them through struggles and triumphs that will make you laugh and leave you a ruined mess. This has become one of my most beloved books. It is teaching me to be a better writer.

The Goddess’s Choice is set in a background reminiscent of Celtic culture. Samantha is a princess who craves freedom while all around her uninteresting men vie for her hand in marriage. She is witty, stubborn, and practical. She’s fears she’s going mad when she starts seeing colored auras around people that reveal their true intentions. Everyone agrees that Robrek is a demon. His family and priests have said so since he was a child. There’s no other way to explain his healing powers and ability to talk to animals. He is brave, but sometimes arrogant.

They posses the Goddess’s gifts and together are her choice to rule the Kingdom of Korthlundia, but the royals scheme to usurp the throne by marrying or killing Samantha. While the priests try to capture Robrek to burn him at the stake. The Goddess's ChoiceWhen Robrek is captured by an enemy he and Samantha share, they must use their powers together to unite the kingdom behind them, avoid the eminent threat of civil war, and save their own lives.

Marchant does not idealize her characters. They are flawed, and frustrating at times. They grow and change with the obstacles they must overcome, which pulls you into the story and, for all your frustration, will make you love them more.

If you’d like to read this book, you can order it on Amazon, or visit Haley Center 8010 (leave a note if she isn’t there) to buy a signed copy for $15.95.

By: Sarah Citrin

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The Darkness that Surrounds the House: On Ryan Adams’ Ryan Adams

ryan adams

My first time hearing Ryan Adams’ self-titled record was one of the best listening experiences of my recent memory. I had intentionally avoided listening to any of the singles that were released to radio, save for a small section of the album’s opening track on XM one afternoon. Thus the clichés begin, first with my preordering of the album, followed by my giddiness at its arrival at my doorstep, and then with my delicate placing of the record (yes, I bought the vinyl) onto my portable turntable. I was sitting with my roommate in our living room when the first chord of “Gimme Something Good” ripped the album open, a stark, nostalgic introduction to Adams’ first record in three years. The record is more rock influenced than some of its predecessors, Adams sticking to his Stratocaster and saving the acoustic guitar for the delicate loneliness of “My Wrecking Ball” and the mournful closer “Let Go.” The sparse ballad “Kim” and the building strum of “I Just Might” are testaments to Adams’ superb sense of simplicity and his ear for evocative songwriting, something that he’s perfected over his intensely prolific, nearly-two-decade-spanning career. “Shadows” is a particularly spare composition, one that swirls and hums, ultimately culminating in an aching tribute to lost time, Adam’s asking “How long do I have here with you?” As contradictory as it may seem, Adams wields the album’s warmth and sense of heart to communicate an ethereal, dark sense of tribulation. “Trouble” and “Am I Safe?” are riddled with insecurity and an anxious sense of self-doubt, while “Tired of Giving Up” and “Feels Like Fire” appear as steady, upbeat ruminations on the pangs of at-risk love. The album demonstrates a flawless sense of melody throughout, one that evokes a powerful, melancholy sense of longing. Ryan Adams is ultimately a documentation of the loneliness of love, the isolation and restlessness spurred by lost or unrequited affection.

By Nick Biland

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Melancholia Film Review

melancholia poster

Imagine an opening scene in which Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” plays, and a vibrantly blue, iced-in-white-clouds rogue planet, that’s similar to our own space marble, hurtles toward earth in what appears to be slow motion, in a dreamlike, harmoniously awe-inspiring way that is reminiscent of the syzygy scene in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is the opening to Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, whose main star, or planet I should say, goes by the same name.

One of the many beauties of the film is the parallelism between the rogue planet’s name, which means “great depression of spirits,” and the psyche of Justine (Kirsten Dunst), who’s very depressed. An implicit point made in the film is that people who are very depressed tend to care less about disasters, are more calm in the face of adversity, and are less likely to fear death, for, when one is depressed, he or she is more likely of expecting the “worst” to happen, which in turn, causes them to be less upset when calamity comes their way, since they were already expecting misfortune to come their way.

As this film progresses, Justine falls further into her depressed state, becoming more detached and isolated from her family members: one of which Trier focuses on especially—Justine’s sister, Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg). The strange thing about depression, as depicted in the film, is that one can, ironically, develop an affinity to ones depressed state, although she or he might dislike it, leading one to become best friends with the darkness’s faithful embrace, as can be seen when Justine protests her sister entreating her to take a bath, as well as when she refuses to eat her favorite food, which she no longer likes, for depression had robbed her of the joy she once had of eating the palatable treat.

When Melancholia (If the reader doesn’t want the film to be spoiled for her- or himself, I encourage the reader to quit reading now.) decides to crash into earth, shattering it like an egg, causing the magma albumen within to ooze through, it’s Justine who keeps her cool. And, what a beautiful sight!

In the end, we will all die, be reduced to ash, dust and maggot food. I’ve found it’s quite liberating when one accepts his or her fate, like Justine did—peacefully, calmly, without fighting it. Like one of my former art teachers once said: “Is the still life not beautiful? Is there not beauty in death and dying? Are wilted roses not breathtaking in their own way?” To many, this might seem melancholy. But to others, like Justine, there is beauty in even the darkest of circumstances.

By Noori Mallaji

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Submissions for Fall 2015 Now Being Accepted

Submission Flier

Submissions for the Fall 2015 issue are being accepted NOW through October 2, 2015.

Prose, Poetry, Photography, and Visual Arts (including architecture, fashion, graphic design, etc.) submissions are accepted from ALL STUDENTS.

To submit, visit 


For questions, contact Editor-in-Chief Jamie McClintock ( or Benjamin Arnberg (

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Staff Applications Now Available!

Want to become a part of the Auburn Circle? Print and fill out an application and return it to AUSC Suite 1111 by September 4, 2015.

Click the link below to view the application.

2015 Circle Staff Application

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Have You Seen It?

If somehow you  managed to avoid campus the last few days and not had the chance to pick up a copy of our latest issue, don’t worry – the last copies available will be at SNAPs tonight!

Here are the details:

Who? Everyone is invited to see

The Underhill Family Orchestra band and

some of our featured artists perform.

What? Our Spring 2015 launch event

When? Tonight, April 22nd: 7 – 9 PM.

Where? The Jule Collins Smith Museum

Do you need more convincing? There is FREE admission, a FREE dessert bar, and FREE copies of the magazine.

Do you STILL need convincing? Check out this issue’s awesome cover: Spring 2015 


….Yeah, we’ll see you there.

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Tomorrow is the day, people.

Tomorrow is THE day, people. Wednesday, April 22nd at the Jule Collins Museum. BE THERE OR BE SQUARE. We could not be more excited for this year’s SNAPS event! Not only can you hear your fellow Auburn students’ literary works, but there will also be a dessert bar (for FREE) and awesome live music performed by The Underhill Family Orchestra! The Auburn Circle is so honored to have such amazing artists read their works aloud for us to cherish. A few of the students speaking at our spring launch party include Emily Chapman, reading her poem “Tech This”, Nathaniel Vincent, reading his poem “How to Break Into Your Own House”, and Rayna McGuire, reading her short story “Erasure”. Make sure to grab a copy of our latest issue! We hope to see you all there! War Eagle.

Watch the video below to preview the Underhill Family Orchestra Band, performing live at this year’s SNAPS event!




Written by: Alexis Sedillo
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You’re Invited to Our Spring 2015 Launch Event!

What? The Auburn Circle Spring Launch Party                                                                    When? April 22nd, 2015 (7-9 PM)
                                                                                         Where? The Jule Collins Smith Museum
                                                                               Who? YOU, and your friends!

On April 22nd, The Circle is having our Launch Event for our Spring 2015 Issue! It’s an open invitation to our readers, friends, and Auburn family. Come join us for a dessert bar, live music performed by The Underhill Family Orchestra, and readings from our newly published artists. At the event, you will also be able to get a copy of our latest issue! If you want a copy but can’t make it to the party, you can pick up a copy from one of the locations listed on our flyer.

You don’t want to miss this night full of food, fun, and music!

Questions? Email us or leave a comment below.

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Happy Friday and War Eagle!

Happy Friday Auburn Family!

While you are are gearing up for the weekend, we here at the Auburn Circle are working hard on this semester’s issue and it’s going to be amazing!

Here’s some of our editors hard at work on last semester’s issue!

Hope you guys have a great weekend!

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