In "The Courier-Mail" Jason Nahrung looks at the curious phenomenon of the "shared world", or "shared universe", as it is sometimes called. This is a literary technique which allows several authors to share a pre-defined literary world. It's more likely to be found in the fields of science fiction and fantasy than anywhere else, though it has been known by the term "crossover" in television series where a main character from one program will turn up on another. A recent, or upcoming (depending on when and where you are reading this) involves a character from "Cross Jordan" appearing on "Las Vegas".
"Shared worlds" series can be either short stories or novels, it matters not, and some of the major examples of the past include Robert Lynn Asprin's Thieves' World, C. J. Cherryh's Merovingen Nights, and George R. R. Martin's Wild Cards series. Nahrung, however, concentrates on Australian versions such as "The Lost Shimmaron" - which will include novels by "Queenslanders Rowena Cory Daniells, Marianne de Pierres, and Trent Jamieson, New South Wales writers Maxine McArthur, Margo Lanagan and Richard Harland, and Dirk Flinthart and Tansy Rayner Roberts from Tasmania" - and the Quentaris series of books which, since 1993, have featured books by Paul Collins, Michael Pryor, Gary Crew, Isobelle Carmody, Lucy Sussex and Margo Lanagan.