Created By: trapraper on July 4, 2012 Last Edited By: trapraper on July 5, 2012

Hidden city with no farm land

This is when a hidden city is found in a remote location with no apparent farming infrastructure to support its people

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
A common trope in boy’s own adventure type fantasy stories and sci-fi is finding hidden or lost cities in the middle of jungles, on mountain tops or some other remote location. Quite often there is no evidence that these cities exist until you literally run into the gate, despite the fact a large city would need hundreds of square miles of farm land to feed its population


Examples

Film
  • Apocalypto: we do see one corn field but it’s really small and there’s open jungle beyond it


LiveActionTV
  • Doctor who: where do the dome cities in genesis of the daleks get their food?


WesternAnimation
  • in one episode Jackie Chan Adventures Jackie discovers the Lost City of the Muntabs, which appears to be a fully populated city just in the middle of open jungle wilderness


Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • July 4, 2012
    aurora369
    Not only boys' adventures have this. JRR Tolkien himself was prone to this with his hidden city of Gondolin in The Silmarillion. It was hidden in a small mountain valley, obviously too small to provide farmland.
  • July 4, 2012
    swallowfeather
    Interesting. I was just about to start a YKKTW called Food Comes From The Store which is a more generalized version of this--basically any situation where a population exists without a reasonable food source being included. (The title comes from a modern-day phrase, but it's not limited to situations that would have stores.) It doesn't come only in the form of hidden cities, although those are the most extreme.

    Actually when you think about it it's all over Tolkien--he never quite makes it clear what any of the Elves eat, in Gondolin or elsewhere. They certainly don't farm (they'd have to cut down trees!); one could imagine that they hunt and gather (maybe... but their society doesn't fit it), or maybe use magic to convince trees to bear fruit year-round or something or maybe they don't need to eat or they get manna from the sky, but it'd be nice if he just once showed us them doing whatever it is. We never even see a single fruit tree in Lothlorien. /endrant

    So, should we have both, and should this be a subtrope? Or should we merge them?
  • July 4, 2012
    AgProv
    And in Mervyn Peake's Ghormenghast, Ghormenghast Castle is the size of a small town and is unheard of in the nearby Big City. So who feeds Ghormenghast and its thousands of people?
  • July 4, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    If the hidden city is underground, a common You Fail Biology Forever is to have the inhabitants live on tunnel-farmed mushrooms.

  • July 4, 2012
    trapraper
    Lumpenprole

    why is that You Fail Biology Forever?
  • July 4, 2012
    NimmerStill
    ^Not to speak for him, but I don't think mushrooms alone have enough calories or nutrients to sustain humans.
  • July 4, 2012
    swallowfeather
    ^That's what I was going to say. They're the ideal diet food, very little in the way of calories at all, their only real nutritional value is vitamins and minerals. Also you do need fertility/organic matter to grow them, you couldn't just keep doing it forever on a large scale without importing big amounts of topsoil or manure from the surface.
  • July 4, 2012
    SharleeD
    ^ Add to that the fact that fungi consume oxygen rather than produce it, which means they're not exactly ideal for underground communities where ventilation is presumably hard to come by.
  • July 5, 2012
    trapraper
    @swallowfeather how would I go about becoming your subtrope?
  • July 5, 2012
    swallowfeather
    I'm pretty sure all we need to do is make the tropes independently of each other and then link them to each other. Specifically, on my page I would put a sentence like "A common subtrope often found in adventure stories and fantasy is the Hidden City With No Farm Land" and it would link to your page, and on your page you would put "This is a subtrope of Food Comes From The Store."
  • July 5, 2012
    trapraper
    @swallowfeather what if your trope gets approved but mine doesn't
  • July 5, 2012
    abk0100
    then he would get rid of that part of the description.
  • July 5, 2012
    trapraper
    @abk0100

    are there not allowed to be links to YKTT Ws on full pages?
  • July 5, 2012
    SharleeD
    Not until those YKTT Ws become full tropes.

    This one, BTW, would be related to City In A Bottle.
  • July 5, 2012
    trapraper
    yes, this is basically related to any trope dealing with human communities that have no obvious source of supplies
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=3ulm00980rxvplaeu5gs25u1