new fiction

#StillHere, A Fiction Experience For Discovery Channel’s “The Colony,” Is Online by J.C. Hutchins


My latest fiction project -- a groundbreaking online narrative that gives you and your friends ringside seats to the end of the world -- is now live. I've worked with dozens of talented creators and developers on this story for months now, and hope you'll find it as fun and resonant as we do.

We've nicknamed this story #StillHere. It's a transmedia experience designed to introduce you the devastated world of the Discovery Channel's TV program The Colony. It's an interesting place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live here: this world has been wrecked by an ultra-contagious virus called "Nuclear Flu." The second season of The Colony debuts in the U.S. on Tuesday, July 27.

The Colony show features seven non-actor volunteers participating in an immersive social experiment, exploring what life might be like after this biological catastrophe. They're tasked with surviving without creature comforts, facing physical and emotional challenges -- including danger from rival survivors. I've seen The Colony's first season, and thought it was pretty amazing.

My involvement with The Colony and Discovery begins and ends with #StillHere, an exclusive online prequel experience that simulates how this pandemic could spread and affect those closest to you. Using the familiar setting of your favorite social network, you'll bear witness to the unhinging of the world, told from many unique perspectives: those of your family and friends.

Literally, your family and friends. Your Facebook-connected buddies are already posting at the site, riding shotgun toward the apocalypse. Your loved ones are writing status updates about hope and coping in this damaged world ... sharing newscast videos about the virus ... commenting on blog posts, photo galleries, home-made videos, breaking news stories and more. They're scraping by, desperately trying to outrun the Nuclear Flu, and need you to join them.

Which you should do. Right now. At

More than 300 updates and comments -- and dozens of videos, photos, articles and more -- await you, all set in an America ravaged by this unstoppable virus. As part of a creative team that included artists, filmmakers, animators and programmers, I acted as Lead Writer, playing a large role in creating the world of #StillHere. But this narrative machine had many moving parts, and the people who envisioned and executed this project are as numerous as they are talented.

I'll soon tell you more about #StillHere, the experience of crafting its content, and the astoundingly brilliant folks at Campfire, the company that conceived this project and invited me to collaborate with them.

In the meantime, give the #StillHere simulation a spin. Visit, log in using Facebook Connect, and behold a unique narrative experience customized solely for you. If you enjoy it, share its content on Twitter and Facebook with your friends and family. Spread the word.

Oh. One thing. Don't bother getting a preventative flu shot or buying a surgical face mask before embarking on your #StillHere experience. Nuclear Flu is already in the air, right now. You've probably already contracted it.

Your friends certainly have. As you'll soon discover, not all of them will make it. Have fun.