[Watch this space!]

Sharpened Knife has already been archived by the National Library’s Pandora Project as a “significant Australian cultural resource”.

It was featured at the 2002 Brisbane Writers Festival, with a demo in the typeslowly.com multimedia event on Saturday evening. And David Reiter served on a panel with crime writers Jasper Fford (UK) and Sydney-based Gabrielle Lord, both of whom saw the work as operning up exciting new possibilities for crime and mystery writing.


Sharpened Knife is David Reiter's much-awaited second work of literary multimedia. It follows his highly successful CD, The Gallery, but the two works have little in common other than their author. The Gallery was based on a work of poetry, Letters We Never Sent, while Reiter composed Sharpened Knife to be multimedia from the start.

Glen, a photojournalist who specialises in war-zones, comes down with a bad case of burn-out. He decides to take time off up in the wilds of Far North Queensland, but his abode is perhaps a bit more rugged than he bargained for. The closest neighbour is half an hour’s walk down a muddy slope, and there’s no electricity to recharge his laptop. His host, James, arranges for him to plug in the laptop at the neighbour’s farm, but that only leads to further complications in the shape of the farmer’s alluring — and bored — wife, Ruby. Twists and turns of seduction, jealousy and bloody revenge — with a dollop of local superstition about things that go bump in the night — are bound to keep you glued to the screen.

On the technical side, the novella itself is a linear piece in the murder-mystery genre. Someone does get murdered, and you get to match your wits against our hero, and the detectives trying to piece together the evidence. The fiction is self-contained and may have a life in print later on. But in Reiter’s hands the reading experience becomes much more. When we encounter multimedia our mind enters a non-linear space in which we consider, accept or reject the who-done-it options posed by the storyline. It is one small step to put reverie about theme into the same sphere.

Reiter adds multimedia elements to enhance your imaginative experience by widening the reference points that appear in the work. You’ll find instances of movies (Flash and Quicktime), still images, some audio, poems and micro-prose and many links to external web sites.

These multimedia instances work at a slant to the main storyline and can be read with or apart from the novella. They’re intended to stimulate not stifle your reactions to the work. You’re free to enjoy or ignore them, or use them as a springboard to other experiences and insights you may gain upon reflection.

Sharpened Knife can be ordered either on CD-ROM (Windows/Mac compatible), or you can view it on the Internet. Either way, you'll need an internet connection to get full enjoyment of the work. You also need Flash 6 Player and Real Audio Player to activate the multimedia elements. These players are free and will enhance your viewing of other works as well as Sharpened Knife, so if you don’t have them now, what are you waiting for?

For the modest cost of the net version, you get unlimited access to the site. Or you can download it in whole or in parts to read at your leisure. But please be mindful that copyright provisions do apply; you are purchasing a single-use copy. If you enjoy the work, please spread the word to your friends and encourage the development of more such works!


David Reiter

Dr David P Reiter’s fascination with multimedia began as an interest with interdisciplinary artforms. His Master thesis studied “literary” counterpoint in The Wild Palms, one of William Faulkner’s lesser known works. Gifted musicially, he is also published extensively as a photojournalist in Australia and North America. So multimedia came naturally to him, though learning the necessary computing skills to put his ideas into practice is an ongoing labour of love!

Self-taught or not, being a pioneer has its advantages: David is now regarded as something of a guru in the emerging artform of literary multimedia and is much in demand as a speaker and workshop leader demonstrating his own work and talking about his vision for crossovers between literature and the New Media.

He calls Brisbane home. From there he directs Interactive Publications Pty Ltd and, between grant applications to realise some of his ideas more quickly, he contemplates an ever-lengthening list of projects on the simmer.