[[quoteright:260:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/toughguidetofantasyland_7211.jpg]]
This piece of MetaFiction by Creator/DianaWynneJones [[AllMythsAreTrue pretends that pretty much all of the fantasy stories ever told -- well, most]] [[StrictlyFormula modern genre fantasies]], [[AllMythsAreTrue anyway -- took place in a place called "Fantasyland"]], and that the creators of the stories are the [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis "Management"]] who arrange for the audience to go on "tours". With this setup, an extensive list of fantasy tropes is presented as if to a tourist visiting another country and thoroughly {{deconstruct|ion}}ed. It also pretends that the stories are statistically representative of "Fantasyland," and thus concludes that the most common type of meal is stew, that cities are composed mainly of alleyways, and that the ecology and economy of Fantasyland are severely screwed up.

Jones later wrote a novel called ''Literature/DarkLordOfDerkholm'' set in the Fantasyland described in the ''Tough Guide'' and deconstructed it further by revealing it's really nothing like the guidebook at all and it's all put on (very reluctantly) for the benefit of the tourists.
----
!!Tropes in this book.

('''Note:''' As the whole point of the book is to list and {{deconstruct|edTrope}} as many fantasy tropes as the author could identify, it's a fair bet that any fantasy-related trope known to this wiki gets some kind of coverage. But the following tropes are definitely among those included -- and, pretty much to a one, [[SubvertedTrope subverted]] and [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]].)

* AbsurdlySpaciousSewer: "Despite the presence of so much refuse and squalor, most castles and cities seem nowadays to have sewers. Their use, apart from the obvious one, is to provide access to or escape from the interior. Be warned. Many tours make use of sewers in preference to secret passages. Opportunities for washing afterwards are not always provided. Do not worry, though; most often, within half a day, all trace of stench will have vanished from you and your clothing, almost as if the management had forgotten about it."
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: Jones pretty much comments on ''all'' the UnfortunateImplications found in "Tolkienesque" fantasy.
* AManIsNotAVirgin: It's noted that no one wants male virgins. Indeed, some sexual experience is preferred from them.
* ArabianNightsDays: The "Fanatic Caliphates" setting.
* ApothecaryAlligator: Mummified alligators are a common feature of wizards' laboratories. Live alligators are much rarer, and believed to be extinct.
* AristocratsAreEvil: A primary feature of the land of the Aristocratic Feudalists.
* AssassinOutclassin: This is the topic of the entry on Assassins - that the tourist is attacked in an inn by a [[TheWorfEffect supposedly]] expert Assassin but manages to overpower and kill them, and the Assassin goes to his death complaining about the Tourist breaking the [[WeirdTradeUnion rules]].
* AutomatonHorses: The Tough Guide speculates that in Fantasyland horses may be a type of vegetable.
* BeautyEqualsGoodness: Jones pretty much comments on ''all'' the UnfortunateImplications found in "Tolkienesque" fantasy.
* BetterThanABareBulb: The book was written to lampshade.
* {{Bishonen}}: The "gay mage" tour companion.
* TheBlacksmith: A good source of allies.
* BornInTheSaddle: The Anglo-Saxon Cossack barbarians.
* BurnTheWitch: A common hazard (along with crucifixion) when dealing with Religious Feudalists.
* ButNotTooWhite: A character's goodness can be judged by their tan.
* CityOfCanals: Cited by name as one possible location tourists may visit.
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience: Jones pretty much comments on ''all'' the UnfortunateImplications found in "Tolkienesque" fantasy.
* CorruptChurch: The land of the Religious Feudalists is ruled by one of these.
* CrystalDragonJesus: The One God variety of Religion, if a male god is used. Even if his worshipers see him as benign, they tend to hate women and magic users (and witches, who are frequently both), and fall into KnightTemplar territory at their worst.
* DeadUnicornTrope: A sort of gender-based WackyWaysideTribe plot/setting is mentioned, in which while boys do one thing, girls get to bond with dragons. The thing is, that while there are books with female DragonRider characters (i.e. ''Literature/DragonridersOfPern''), there doesn't seem to be any series in which that was an exclusively female activity--it's closer to exclusively male in the Pern books[[note]]only the very few gold (queen) dragons bond with females, and at the start of the series even they don't actually ride[[/note]], and the ''Literature/PitDragonChronicles'' likewise features males making that bond, and all of these books were written before the Guide was published. It is worth noting, however, that Jones wrote it after reading umpteen Tolkien-esque, Tolkien-length novels as a judge in a contest. She was probably not referring to any published books when she wrote this.
* DidYouJustHaveSex: The Guide tells you the signs to look for in one of your tour members and the correct etiquette for the situation.
* DistressedDamsel: Entry number one on Princesses consists of one word -- "Wimps."
* DragonHoard: Wondering on why dragons hoard treasure, Jones conjectures that dragons absorb nutrients from gold by sleeping on it.
* DragonRider: Likely to show up.
* DroitDuSeigneur: Mentioned by name as one of the things that bad Aristocratic Feudalists get up to when oppressing the peasantry.
* EvilChancellor: Very likely to show up.
* EvilSmellsBad: The "Reek of Wrongness."
* EncyclopediaExposita: The entire book is one.
* EvilMatriarch: The "bad mother" variety of bad queen.
* FantasyContraception: Simply being in Fantasyland seems to act as this. Jones notes that no matter how much sex "tourists" have, pregnancy never occurs (perhaps tied into the [[NoPeriodsPeriod lack of menstruation by women]]).
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: A whole bunch of them.
* FantasyWorldMap: [[spoiler: Take a look at the map ''upside down''. Run the place-names through an anagram generator while you're at it.]]
* ForgottenTrope: The entries tend to draw from cliches of StrictlyFormula commercial fantasy as well as some instances likely [[TakeThat directed at particular works]]. So, while a lot of the tropes it cites are still frequently used, others aren't so much.
* GiantFlyer: The "Leathery winged avians" that may attack tourists in isolated spots.
* GladiatorGames: The other common fate of male characters who get enslaved.
* GladiatorRevolt: The inevitable consequence of a lead character being enslaved as a gladiator.
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: The "old fashioned bad" variety of bad queen.
* GodsNeedPrayerBadly: One of the two absolute Rules in regards to religion in Fantasyland.
* HeroesWantRedheads: Princesses who fall for the hero are often redheads in Fantasyland.
* HiddenBackupPrince: It's noted that runaway princesses have an overwhelming tendency to marry "commoners of sterling worth" who more often than not turn out to be these.
* IKnowYourTrueName: Using PunctuationShaker names is used as a form of protection against this.
* LampshadeHanging: Lampshades are hung on tropes left and right.
* LeftJustifiedFantasyMap: The book has one at the beginning, naturally, and the place names are anagrams parodying common ones in fantasy books.
* MadeASlave
* AManIsNotAVirgin: Or as the ''Virgins'' entry put it: ''"Nobody wants a male Virgin at all. Young boys, yes, but there is no stipulation about Virginity. In fact, some experience is preferred."''
* MorePredatorsThanPrey: The Guide uses this as one of the key pieces of evidence for the theory that fantasy worlds' ecosystems have been recently ravaged (another is the way piles of refuse around oppressed peasants' huts don't just rot away.) It comes to the conclusion that the systems are re-establishing themselves with humans at the bottom, and everything will be fine.
* NoPeriodsPeriod: It's noted that female "tourists" do not menstruate in Fantasyland.
* PunctuationShaker: This is discussed at length, with one theory being it's to make a name [[TheUnpronounceable unpronounceable]] to prevent it [[IKnowYourTrueName being used against them]].
* PurpleEyes: In its dissertation on [[ColorCodedForYourConvenience color-coding]] in Fantasyland, the Guide says people with violet eyes may be royalty, or just destined to lead "uncomfortably interesting lives".
* RebelliousPrincess: Entry number two on Princesses.
* RedShirt: The Serious Soldier, who lacks personality and whose role in the story consists mainly of helping out in the fight scenes and inevitably dying at a dramatically appropriate moment.
* RescueSex: The entry on slavery mentions beautiful female varieties of slave and how they are rescued from slavery by a Conanesque male character, who is rewarded with no-holds-barred sex, and then [[NotStayingForBreakfast abandons them in the middle of nowhere]].
* ShoutOut: [[TheLordOfTheRings "[Cursed rings] must be returned from whence they came, preferably at over a thousand degrees Fahrenheit, and the curse means you won't want to do this."]] Among others.
* SlaveGalley: If a male character is enslaved, chances are he'll probably wind up chained to an oar in one of these.
* SomewhereAnEquestrianIsCrying: It's {{lampshaded}} how horses are treated like bicycles and the Guide therefore speculates that they're not actually animals, but vegetables which breed by pollination.
* STDImmunity: Tourists are informed that, happily, sexually transmitted diseases appear to not exist in Fantasyland.
* TarotMotifs: One of the most frequent means for prophecy to be laid out.
* {{Turncoat}}: Which is only people who turn ''against'' you. People who come over to your side are only doing what is right. "Coats do not exist in Fantasyland-cloaks are universally preferred-but turncoats do."
* ThudAndBlunder: The Guide naturally discusses some of the Thud and Blunder tropes. In particular, barbarians and evil overlords make several appearances.
* {{Tradesnark}}: The Guide puts a superscript OMT (Offical Management Term) on words or phrases that are, in the author's opinion, particularly overused in [[ExtrudedBookProduct Extruded Fantasy Product]].
* VainSorceress: The Enchantress.
* VestigialEmpire: The TropeNamer, even.
* VirginSacrifice: The preferred form of sacrifice among evil religions, which features ritual rape and disembowelment as part of the ceremony.
* VirginityMakesYouStupid: The only logical conclusion one can draw from the behavior of female virgins who so readily fall into the hands of evil people.
* WhenTreesAttack: It's mentioned that many trees are downright hostile, grabbing people in their branches and trying to eat them.
* WeirdTradeUnion: Jones wonders if the assassins' and thieves' guilds are the only ones existing in Fantasyland.
* YouAllMeetInAnInn: Of course you do.

----