Five Worldbuilding Mistakes Even Enthusiasts Make

The crew works on the computer in The Expanse

The Expanse has a well-thought-out hard scifi setting that still ignores scientific reality.

Most worldbuilding mistakes we see over and over again come from lazy storytellers who create worlds as an afterthought. But a few mistakes persist even in worlds built with considerable time and effort. These are mistakes of oversight: the worldbuilder just didn’t remember to think about everything critically. Let’s take a look at some of these repeat offenders.

1. Leaving Culture the Same

Crew of Battlestar Galactica Battlestar Galactica: Humans have lived for untold eons in a distant system, but by coincidence, they have a Secretary of Education that can inherit the Presidency.

It’s a bazillion years in the future, and humanity is spread across the galaxy. Countless scientific discoveries have brought us amazing technological advances like faster than light travel and nanites that repair wounds instantly. Yet people still light candles and eat birthday cake every year, women change their names after getting married in a white dress, and business people shake hands when meeting for the first time.

You wouldn’t have characters in a vastly different world listening to today’s pop songs, would you? Not unless you had a good world-driven reason. That’s because, like everything else, culture changes. It changes because our lifestyles change, our values change, and we get caught up in new and interesting things. Not to mention that culture is different around the world. In the future, those vastly different cultures could melt together.

If you write other-world characters that live by your culture, you’re wasting an opportunity to set your world apart and creating a society that’s just unrealistic. Instead, question the parts of culture that you take for granted. Make guesses about how culture is changing today and project them into the future. Think about how the details of your world would impact those living there. Then make some changes.

2. Giving Supernatural Elements No History

Black dragon with old navy ship His Majesty’s Dragon: Humans ride dragons into battle, altering the course of the Napoleonic Wars. Why don’t they alter any wars before that? Umm… oh hey look at the pretty dragons!

It’s another day in the United States. The elves have tied themselves to trees to protest the sale of national parks, the goblins caused another riot after their favorite football team lost, and pixie infestations are on the rise. Humans go about their day-to-day business, used to all the other creatures and their habits. It’s always been like that. No one questions why none of these creatures have nations of their own. The elves are protecting parks founded by Teddy Roosevelt, the goblins participate in the human-led Olympics, and no one has thought to design homes that prevent pixies from nesting in the walls.

Every spec fic storyteller knows that history is easily altered by a few time travelers. So why would history be exactly the same if supernatural elements have existed since life began? If the supernatural is powerful enough to alter your world, it’s powerful enough to change the course of history. If it hasn’t, your world will feel flat instead of rich and deep.

You can put the supernatural into a familiar contemporary setting by making it a recent arrival. If elves arrived fifteen years ago, the biggest shock will have worn off, but humans could still be adjusting. If you want the supernatural to have existed in for all of history without changing the world, you’ll need more than a hand wave to explain it. Have humans been brainwashed into thinking history went differently than it actually did? If conquered groups had supernatural aids like magic, protective deities, or alien technology, why did they lose?

3. Ignoring the Implications of Technomagic

Main cast of the Expanse The Expanse: Humans have colonized the solar system. Spaceships are still piloted by humans, though, because using super accurate computer systems in life threatening situations is just no fun.

It’s a wondrous fantasy land with powerful magic and warring kingdoms. Sorcerers throw great fireballs from the tops of their dragon mounts, clerics protect the population from diseases, and seers peer into distant lands. Yet everyone is still building castles. They take a generation to complete, and they don’t protect anyone from those darn sorcerers and their dragons, but by golly, they’re just so pretty! The enchanted woods are still standing because the population hasn’t exploded, and messages take days to deliver by courier.

This is like writing characters who drive across country when they all have teleporters in their homes. Give a person a new tool, and the impact will reverberate throughout the world. People are smart: if there’s a way we can use a piece of magic or technology to our advantage, we will think of it in short order. Sure, a generation might stubbornly hold on to driving their own cars when self-driving cars are widely available, but practicality wins eventually.

That’s why you’ve got to think through not only what cool things you want your world to have but also what conditions would create them. Want castles and dragons? Make the dragons faraway, incredibly rare, or a sentient species of pacifists. Dragons can destroy castles just by dropping boulders on them, and if castles aren’t good protection, no one will build them. Think of some limits on your technomagic now, and it’ll save you headaches later.

4. Making Multi-Species Worlds Human-Centric

Reapers attack Earth in Mass Effect Mass Effect: Despite having countless worlds to choose from, the big bad Reapers make Earth a high-priority target. Human potential is just so frightening!

It’s the fortuitous day that humans launch into space, joining a vast galactic alliance of tens of thousands of species. In space there are species as old as the universe and young as a year. They are high tech, low tech, hostile, friendly, beautiful, ugly. But they all agree on one thing: humans are the most average species to have ever existed. After this revelation, the whole galaxy quickly categorizes every species by how they differ from the denizens of Earth. Everyone’s like them, but with a twist! Of course, when push comes to shove, they also discover that humans are not only average but also special snowflakes. They advance so fast, and the human spirit is simply unbeatable! The most powerful race in the universe soon feels threatened by these snowflakes and gets out the blowtorch.

What I would give for more stories that treated humans like just another race in a world where they are supposed to be just another race. It breaks immersion when the world is being bent to inflate the human ego. If we want humans to be the center of everything, we should build worlds where that is literally true: humans were in fact created in the image of the divine, and we are the bestest and most favoritest of divine creations! If we don’t want to write that, we shouldn’t be making realistic worlds and trying to sneak it in.

If humans are one group in a world of many sentient species, think through how humans are different. And I don’t mean “different plus superior.” What makes us weird? Are we the only species that needs this ridiculous sleep cycle or one of only a handful that walk on two legs? Choose a few characteristics we have in common with almost everyone, and make the rest diverse across your races. If humans are new on the scene, less advanced, or otherwise less powerful, don’t make humans take over the world. You’re only reducing conflict for your human characters.

5. Creating “Egalitarian” Societies

Space ships with laser guns in front of Earth Old Man’s War Series: The military is happy to recruit women and train them equally, but somehow they don’t have any generals who are women.

It’s the beautiful kingdom of Utopia, the land not-yet but about-to-be threatened by the forces of evil. It is ruled by a wise and fair monarch. The oldest children inherit titles regardless of gender, and all the races live together in harmony. People even dress how they want and date who they want. Of course, the King and all of his counselors are men of the pale-skinned race. The King has three sons who can succeed him; no one is sure what happened to their mother since she’s never mentioned, but the sons all need brides. Then behold the kingdom’s savior: a plucky, dark-skinned heroine! She exists, so clearly the entire world is an egalitarian paradise.

Nothing looks more contrived than when a writer keeps insisting their world is one way, but they’ve clearly created something else. It’s not enough to say women can inherit titles; you must show women with titles. And this showing must go beyond your main characters; it’s the background elements that determine what’s normal for your world. If your story is about a queen but you don’t show female nobles in court, it’s still a patriarchy. And let’s face it: a monarchy can’t be an egalitarian utopia because it’s led by a dictator. If equality is important to you, maybe don’t glorify unjust systems of government.

If you want your setting to be free of all that oppressive nonsense, then good for you. But you’ll need to look over it carefully to make sure it’s actually that way in practice and not just in theory. Start counting all the people and their demographic characteristics. Then look at your numbers and see if they reflect what you want for the society you’ve built. If they don’t, make some changes. Unthinkingly making everyone a white guy isn’t your fault, but letting that get into print is.

Checking and fixing items that are easily forgotten will take more time. But the more you do it, the more it will become second nature. After re-examining how your world works, it will stand out that much more.

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  1. Mathilde

    Pretty helpful article. Thank you.

  2. Cay Reet

    Given how good humans are at making use of all kinds of things, one might wonder why nobody has worked together with the other races from #2. Perhaps the elves would be good with plants and could take over food production, making it easier and leaving a much smaller imprint in nature. Maybe pixies have uses (preferably not squashed, but, hey!, pixie soup).

    And there definitely is no reason to build a castle, if you have magic users in war. Some kind of structure you could anchor a ward to, however, might be useful. Like this, the capital can be put under a magic shield in case of an attack, which would prevent the dragons from entering and the fireballs from doing damage. This structure could be a castle, theoretically, but it would probably be more effective to build several structures, so you can put a magical network between them and if one fails, the others can still keep the shield up.

    I think #1 and #5 are closely related, though. Leaving the structure of society the way it is now and trying to create an egalitarian society just by telling, not by showing, both are probably rooted in our traditional picture of things. I agree that no society ruled by a minority (be it nobles, oligarchs, or others) can be truly egalitarian. But a lot of stories would definitely profit from a more diverse cast and more interesting characters of both genders (or characters who are somehow in between genders). That’s actually why I like the comic ‘Princess Princess Ever After’ so much. It turns your usual fantasy/fairy tale plot on its head and does so very well.

    • AndrewR

      The points you bring up for for #2 are one of the reasons I thought that ‘dungeons’ (ie. underground bunkers) would be more prevalent in a world with dragons and other flying monsters than castles. When your enemies can breathe hot flaming death on you from above you want barriers above you and digging down or into the side of a cliff is probably easier than trying to work out how to build roofs as thick as castle walls. (If building/castle/city sized magical domes weren’t easier to create.)

      • Cay Reet

        Yes, underground saferooms (otherwise known as dungeons in a medieval setting and bunkers in a modern one) would be very useful … same goes for caves with an entrance too small for a dragon to use.

        Since there were wizards riding those dragons, I assumed magic was a thing, too, so I came up with that shield (since most people like breathing fresh air and feeling the sun on their skins). Quick evacuation during an attack (perhaps access to underground features from every home) would still be a good option. In the long term, it would probably be easier and less expensive to build a network of underground tunnels than to have that shield up.

        • Jim


          Look at fortifications during the 1700s and 1800s. Those were built to defend against artillery. Magical shields would also work as well. Additionally, you could have magical ballista that would spear a dragon and thus keeps them at bay. If the attackers are in large numbers or crafty they might be able to attack and avoid the ballista but maybe there is a strong preservation streak in the dragons that makes them reluctant to be cannon fodder.

          • Cay Reet

            Given that many castles were destroyed or taken during that time and no new castles were built afterwards, we can assume that really powerful artillery is better avoided by going underground than by further fortifying your castle.

            I mentioned a shield spell or wards as a possibility first, because I can’t imagine a ruler freely living underground, but having some kind of bunker system would probably be a good idea, nevertheless. However, with a shield up during the attack and an underground saferoom to flee to, you don’t need a castle and can instead build a nice palace with less of a thick wall and more in decoration and gardening.

        • Jim

          Didn’t see a reply link to your reply.

          The Maginot Line was massive fortifications as were other ‘lines’ in WW2. They included barriers, bunkers, traps, etc.. but covered much larger areas that one building(set of buildings). Fortifications are still valid but as mobility of armed forces became better, the need for singular forts was reduced. Fortification lines became the thing to deny a much larger area to the enemy.

          As for just building a palace and use a shield, sure, I guess it depends on your world’s shield capabilities. If you have a fairly war hungry world, with a chance of shields failing, would you not build a more survivable structure?

          Once the shield has been destroyed, a regular palace would offer little resistance to a dragon or infantry, correct? Underground safe rooms might allude a dragon’s search but if there were hundreds of soldiers combing the site?

          I would definitely like to have underground bunkers and weapon’s pits in a position that a ground army would not easily get to (walls, moats, etc..).

    • Mikey

      Cay – some thoughts. Castles would, by their nature still be necessary with, or without magic users. In fact several castles have built into their architecture, design points meant to act as protective wards so the entire structure is one big ward. When you think in terms of a ‘magical shield’ you’re still thinking ‘within the box’. A shield implies that there’s a barrier. Barriers can be tunneled under, flown over, or breached in general. Why is it a shield? Do Warriors think in terms of scrolls? Why would a magic societies think in terms of warrior concept at all? Why isn’t the land itself covered in a sieve that automatically filters out that which does not belong. Why does it block, attack, defend… when instead it might transmogrify, embrace or illuminate it’s enemies?

      A castle is a building. It keeps out human threats, the environment and in general is a mundane structure. So I would expect one to exist, and I would expect it to have designs which work well for humans which use it – meaning it will probably be located near rivers or streams or places of human gathering and commerce. There’s logic to that. For them to be based off of a mystic ley line or such – would only work if the people there also congregate there. Otherwise a simple network like our cell towers would suffice to cover an area with magics.

      Just some random thoughts. Not meant as criticism – just other views on your post as they came from my head.

      • Cay Reet

        While you’re right that the castle is a strong structure, there is a reason why they’re no longer built these days (and it’s not just ‘we don’t have any kings’). The castle proved to be a great protection until the cannon was invented. Heavy artillery can, sooner or later, break through heavy walls, no matter how thick. In a long battle or a siege, a castle was no longer that much of a protection. Add to this the amount of time and resources it takes to build a castle and you will realize that there are better ways to spend both, once the castle has outlived its usefulness. You could use a castle to tie a ward to it, but the same can be done with smaller, less expensive structures. Houses at certain points throughout a city would work. Even some kind of obelisks would, if you put them up in the right places. Easier and cheaper to build and you would have several anchor points, so the destruction of one wouldn’t have such severe consequences.

        Underground protection became more and more important, the more powerful artillery became, because while you can definitely destroy all structures above ground, a deep bunker or dungeon with several tons of earth on top will take a long, long while to crack. So a palace on top, for diplomatic and representative reasons, but a stable underground bunker underneath, would make sense.

        I’m assuming here that battle magic works similar to artillery and air forces (fireballs and other spells with the same amount of strength as a cannonball and suchlike, dragons for air raids).

  3. SunlessNick

    Regarding 2, there was an interesting novel (whose name now escapes me) that had the “big supernatural reveal” take place in 1910, followed by an alternate history after that, which included the aversion of both world wars.

    It also had a clever way to introduce the changes, starting with the abstract of an in-world academic paper positing that without the [supernatural events the novel’s reader needs to be told about], the historian believes existing human trends would have led to [historical events from our world that didn’t exist in the setting]

    • Calth

      Was it one harry turtledoves series?

  4. Bronze Dog

    I get miffed when shows have lots of races and a supposedly integrated society, but 75%+ of important characters are human. I remember being pleasantly surprised watching a Let’s Play of a Jedi Knight Academy game, and finding out that the PC was a Rodian.

    One concept for a sci-fi setting I’ve entertained on occasion: Humans are an extreme outlier in size. Most intelligent species in the galaxy are much smaller than we are, which means we need special accommodations when visiting ships and stations built for other species. It also leads to a reputation of humans being wasteful and gluttonous.

    • Cay Reet

      Knowing humans, it would probably lead to less intelligent species around. Honestly, if we were the biggest and strongest around, we would probably try to destroy or enslave other beings – unless we really were physically unable or so far evolved that we have gotten rid of that base instinct.

    • Mikey

      I remember reading a short – can’t remember the name, but had a wonderful premise that the Alien race we (humans) had encountered was this massive mystery to us as we had never met them. They refused to allow humans on to their ships, and when humans had visited their planet there was never an alien – even there, we spoke only to them through a diplomatic android. The big reveal was of course that the aliens were an artificial intelligence that existed only in the hyper spatial equivalent of cyberspace. Their ‘planet’ – everything, even their ‘trade’ with us was just for our benefit. They really didn’t need anything. They were just trying to make us feel comfortable and learn from them so we could eventually evolve to a higher state – that was their only (programmed) purpose. To serve others.

  5. James Briggs

    You covered so much that it is impossible not to make your so called mistakes. It is all about storytelling not being accurate about something that it is impossible to know about. When I recently learned how human survived and prevailed I realized it was about a trillion to one chance. Humans are incredibly special or are so lucky that I would be surprised if there is another sentient species within our visible universe. Moreover, I find the standard criticisms empirically laughable. The one thing that every successful science fiction/fantasy story that I have read is they are filled with so many mistakes that most editors would call them unprintable. The one piece of advice that I have for aspiring writers is to write and submit but never read any critizism of you story because it is so ofter wrong as to be harmful.

    • I. Rony

      “… never read any critizism of you story because it is so ofter wrong as to be harmful.”
      This attitude may explain why such a small part of your comment contains three spelling/grammar errors.

  6. Dominic Amann

    One cardinal rule for speculative fiction is to make one single, radical change, and then explore the possibilities. No-one will read a book where everything is unrecognizable because someone factored in every consequence of change that they could imagine. The resulting fiction wold be too alien for people to digest.

    • Athonwy

      Don’t tell China Mieville that. He seems to have done it quite successfully.

      • Dominic Amann

        I love Mieville myself. I think he has followed the cardinal rule by not changing “humanity” at all. His characters are recognizably human, driven by the same fears and feelings we all are. He is a good example of how far you can go when you only change one main thing.

        I am not sure we even have the capacity to imagine what it would look like to be driven by genuinely alien impulses.

    • Void Caller

      I understand your point, but I think think that autor wanted to argue against making change in ancient past and then not exploring it.
      For example throwing in vampires coexisting with mankind for milenia and then maikng world just like ours but with vampire masquerade.
      I appologise for my English, it is my secon language.

      • Cay Reet

        The masquerade would make sense, depending on how quickly vampires breed (can they really change humans or are they a different species and have offspring like we do?) and how good humans are at destroying them (do they have a weakness humans can easily exploit and they can’t get rid off or defend against?).

        But I agree that the world would be different. Most people would have at least a subconscious knowledge of the hunters in the shadows who drink their blood. It would be in legends and in stories children are told, so they stay at home after dark and don’t open windows or doors for strangers. If, perhaps, they even found a way to coexist with a truce (blood against services or suchlike), then the world clearly would be different.

    • Brooke Hodge

      I agree! I tried writing my main alien species with an unusual way of speaking and all I heard was “more contractions!”. Like, why do you think aliens would even use contractions to begin with? When people read spec fic, they want a story, not a peer-reviewed study of possible futures.

  7. Michael Hutson

    Heh, on another blog we were discussing additions to the Evil Overlords list, and I suggested the following:
    “All balconies, tower roofs and skylights will have security bars. And if any of my guards ever says ‘they would have to fly to get in’, I will have him immediately executed.”

    • Cay Reet

      Because checking and makin openings small enough is worse than having the heroes fly in?

  8. Ben

    I know your heart’s in the right place on 5, and the example you give is a good one…but a little nuance is in order, because there are special-case systems in history that mix egalitarianism with oppression in paradoxical and complicated ways (Athenian Democracy, Ante-Bellum South, etc.) and exploring the possibilities and perils of having inherent contradictions in a system (such as the possibility of a good king enforcing pseudo-egalitarianism for a time, with the caveat of how fragile/flawed that is when enforced by a monarch) can make for very interesting storytelling.

    In other words, I’m all for diversity to promote egalitarianism, but there are ways of promoting the value through the nuanced exploration of its lack, and the full spectrum of possibility between it and various forms of totalitarianism.

  9. Rob HJ

    My biggest pet hate in Fantasy is “Clueless farm boy from insignificant background picks up a sword for the first time in his life and a few days later is defeating trained soldiers with ease and a few months later outfights the acknowledged best swordfighter in the land.” Luke Skywalker also fits that cliche. Give me flawed, scared but slightly fortunate protagonists who are only there because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Die Hard is a good example. sure he defeated many armed men but he did it by stealth and got injured and nearly died several times Also, how about some plain ones that the princess or any girl do not fall in love with, not even ‘eventually’, but are good guys nevertheless?

    • Traverse Davies

      The Wheel of Time does an interesting take on this, with the main character being trained by the worlds greatest swordsman for many years in the books. He doesn’t pick up a sword and excel, although he does have a decent natural talent for it.

  10. Yudhanjaya Wijeratne

    Good points. And this is why (Blasphemy inbound) Star Trek and Star Wars pissed me off quite a bit. Why is everyone humanoid? Why is every planet human-breathable?

    • Cay Reet

      Because otherwise the story would be short. Heroes arrive on a planet, heroes land (or beam down), heroes die.

      Humanoid shape means being able to use your hands (or upper apendages of your body) for things like using tools or carrying stuff. Your legs (or lower appendages of your body) do the movie. Theoretically, a creature could have more than one set of each, but that would have been hard to show realistically in the past (although I still have fond memories of Harryhausen’s four-armed statue coming alive and fighting the hero).

      Those are the reasons why both universes are very human-friendly.

      • Marc Vun Kannon

        Not to mention the fact that they probably had no budgets for extensive make-up for all the extras. The ST Animated series had more aliens, simply because they could.

        • Cay Reet

          Exactly. An animated series is only limited by the imagination and ability of the animators. Any real life series has limits, especially before green screen and CGI became such a big topic.

  11. CuriousUwatu

    Ok I have multiple problems with this Article because you seem to be ignoring one core principle of writing to prop up your world building, that principle is to make your work relatable for the audiene.
    Points 1 and 4 seem to ignore that you are writing for a human audience in our current culture. Writers centre on the human perspective and make cultures variants on what we understand as cultures because if you throw something completely unrelatable at your audience they most likely won’t relate to it and will then lose interest.

    While point 3 has some fair points I have to point out that your own last example ignores a classic element of fantasy, WARDING! The castle walls are there to defend against mundane threats, it’s the wards built in to those walls that block the Dragon fire. I also have to ask those who want wards as a forcefield with no walls, have you never heard of a back up plan?

    As for point 5, that’s just a travesty you’re telling authors that they have to have politically motivated quotas as part of their character creation, because that won’ make things seem forced or arbitrary will it? while the show don’t tell advice is solid, if obvious, the claim you can’t have a society which treats everyone equally under the law while still having the classic elements of medieval fantasy seems to be more pushing of political narrative over the writers creativity.

    • Dominic Amann

      You rebuttal to point 5 is based on a false premise. The OP was saying IF you are proclaiming diversity, then SHOW IT, don’t tell it. In other words, if you are claiming a diverse egalitarian realm, it should be reflected by the details of the realm, and appear in the makeup of the protagonists.

      You are free to make a world where one gender or another dominates. Just don’t pretend it is what it isn’t.

      • CuriousUwatu

        Right because a paragraph linking to articles such as ‘five signs your story is racist’, ‘telling a story in a prejudiced setting’ and ‘Matriarchies, Patriarchies and beyond’, couldn’t possibly be motivated by identity politics, right?
        Oh and let’s not forget that the last of those articles I mentioned warns potential authors against stereotyping women in matriarchal setting all while painting men with a brush so broad you could use it to bridge the grand canyon. I’m honestly hard pressed to see how point 5 isn’t pushing a political agenda considering the linked material.

        • Oren Ashkenazi

          Here at Mythcreants we make no secret of having a political agenda, glad you noticed!

          • CuriousUwatu

            It would be hard to miss considering it’s more blatant Than Fox News political leanings and shows in the low quality of advice, seeing as clearly prioritise politics over quality of writing, which if the recent cancellations for Marvels Blatantly political comics, such as queen of hell, hasn’t already made clear to you, is bad for future prospects.

        • Chris Winkle

          Dominic is still right though. I am not preaching diversity in this particular article, simply saying that if you already want your world to be egalitarian, you have to show it.

          • CuriousUwatu

            Mr Winkle, fair enough your writing does however at least to me as a newcomer ring almost identical to the ‘Diversity at all costs’ style of advice I’ve seen on sevral far-left blogs, not helped by the links which definitely slanted my perceptions on that point. Particularly your article on ‘social justice’ being intrinsic to storytelling, which I disagree with on a side note I’d have given up on modern literature by now were that the case.

          • Cay Reet

            The article was clear on ‘if you write an egalitarian society’ … in other words: either you do, then show it, or you don’t, then you don’t have to. Really not hard to understand.

        • SunlessNick

          You do realise that lack of diversity is no less a case of identity politics than diversity, right?

          • Bronze Dog

            Kind of falls under the category of “it’s only a class warfare when the poor stand up for themselves.”

            Also, if you think something isn’t political, it’s probably only because you agree with its politics.

  12. C. R. Rowenson

    When reading the last bit of #4, my brain immediately jumped to Titan A.E.. I think that’s a great example of humans being in a non-dominant, minority role, and it creates so many interesting plot points because of it.

    Do you guys know of any other series that pull this off well? I’d love to see more like it.

  13. Catherine Kane

    seems like you’re missing the point that castles may be an imperfect defense against sorcerers on dragons but may be an excellent defense against many other hazards in your magical fantasy world

    at that point, you might build something different or you might build castles with an added defense against dragons (being inside a stone castle would be a better defense than being out in the open and if you add in ballistas that shoot projectiles that tear thru dragon wings, you’ve got a whole new game going on

    • Shamanka

      They could also be a status thing for the lord that lives in them. ‘Look at us, WE have enough money to employ a sorcerer and make our castle dragon-proof, what about YOU?’

  14. Marcelly

    Hey, Nice article. Can I translate it, giving you the credits?

  15. Sophie the Jedi Knight

    #5 is definitely every book by Rick Riordan. He does an okay job on racial diversity, but sexuality diversity took a nosedive.
    Every time a character is revealed to be gay, bisexual, or transgender, it is immediately followed up with “and lots of characters are like this!” Riordan’s books take place in the world of Greek mythology. When a character said he was bisexual, he immediately said next “But lots of characters in Greek history are bisexual!” When a character said she was transgender, the person she was talking to said “Oh yeah, I know tons of people like that! There are even some mythological people who were transgender!
    He was just trying too hard.

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