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This piece of Meta Fiction by Diana Wynne Jones pretends that all of the fantasy stories ever told took place in a real place called "Fantasyland", and that the creators of the stories are the "Management" who arrange for the audience to go on "tours". With this setup the list of fantasy tropes is presented as if to a tourist visiting another country and thoroughly deconstructed. 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.

Wynne Jones later wrote a novel called The Dark Lord of Derkholm set in the Fantasyland described in the Tough Guide and deconstructing 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.


Among the tropes included (and, pretty much to a one, subverted and lampshaded) are:

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