The definitive edition of a cult classic by the legendary Diana Wynne JonesImagine that all fantasy novels the ones featuring dragons, knights, wizards, and magic are set in the same place That place is called Fantasyland The Tough Guide to Fantasyland is your travel guide, a handbook to everything you might find Evil, the Dark Lord, Stew, Boots but not Socks , and what passes for Economics and Ecology Both a hilarious send up of the cliches of the genre and an indispensable guide for writers, The Tough Guide to Fantasyland has been nearly impossible to find for years Now this cult classic is back, and readers can experience Diana Wynne Jones at her very best incisive, funny, and wildly imaginative This is the definitive edition of The Tough Guide, featuring a new map, an entirely new design, and additional material written for it by Diana Wynne JonesWorld Fantasy Award FinalistA Hugo Award Finalist Nonfiction


10 thoughts on “The Tough Guide to Fantasyland

  1. Nataliya Nataliya says:

    If you have read at least a handful of traditional fantasy books, no doubt that most of the tropes found in this mock A to Z Fantasyland encyclopedia travel guide for a hypothetical tour of a Generic Fantasyland, organized by a sinisterly capitalized Management will be familiar to you You can read this book in a traditional way front to back cover, or just pick up any entries at random it s just as entertaining It s hilarious and so true, and yet not condescending or malicious, and does If you have read at least a handful of traditional fantasy books, no doubt that most of the tropes found in this mock A to Z Fantasyland encyclopedia travel guide for a hypothetical tour of a Generic Fantasyland, organized by a sinisterly capitalized Management will be familiar to you You can read this book in a traditional way front to back cover, or just pick up any entries at random it s just as entertaining It s hilarious and so true, and yet not condescending or malicious, and does not ever degenerate into ridicule.The Guide touches on everything you expect to see in your generic fantasy epic adventure from STEW what you are served to eat every single time to HORSES It therefore seems probable that they breed by pollination to MISSING HEIRS At any given time, half the COUNTRIES in Fantasyland will have mislaid their Crown PRINCESS PRINCE to BANDITS employed by the Management to make the early stages of the Tourinteresting to CLOTHING Here, the colder the climate, the fewer the garments worn to SCURVY Despite a diet consisting entirely of STEW and WAYBREAD, supplemented by only the occasional FISH, you will not suffer from this or any other deficiency disease to WORK is seldom done as such in Fantasyland When it is inevitable, it is always known as Toil to COMMON COLD This is one of many viral nuisances not present You can get as wet, cold, and tired as you like, and you will still not catch cold But see PLAGUE.Anyone who has ever thought about writing fantasy should become very familiar with this book So should fantasy fans who don t take themselves and the genre too seriously I also highly recommend it to all my fellow Terry Pratchett fans out there since we already laugh at fantasy clich s


  2. Shauna Shauna says:

    In The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, Diana Wynne Jones doles out such indispensable advice as how to tell whether a PERSON is good or evil by their COLOR CODING, what to expect during the various stages of your TOUR, the importance of NAMES if you don t have one, you will always be killed sooner or later Probably sooner , what sort of PEOPLE makes the best companions at least one or two LITTLE PEOPLE are reccommended they tell jokes though the most likely candidates would probably be FEMALE In The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, Diana Wynne Jones doles out such indispensable advice as how to tell whether a PERSON is good or evil by their COLOR CODING, what to expect during the various stages of your TOUR, the importance of NAMES if you don t have one, you will always be killed sooner or later Probably sooner , what sort of PEOPLE makes the best companions at least one or two LITTLE PEOPLE are reccommended they tell jokes though the most likely candidates would probably be FEMALE MERCENARY, MISSING HEIR, TOUR MENTOR, and perhaps LARGE MAN Neither does she shy away from the big issues, covering ECOLOGY, ECONOMY, POLITICS, and even TROTS, THE.What s great is that the guide is consistently entertaining throughout I could lift section after section at random and each would recommend the book equally well And I do find that often myself that, with this sort of book, you pick it up thinkingwhat a charming idea , but then interest is exhausted about as quickly as the author s better ideas.The next time I pick up one of my old favorite fantasies for a re read, I will most definitely be whipping this guide out as a companion I m anticipating one absolutely hilarious experience there In case you re not quite convinced yet, here s a little A B C D sampling APELIKE CANNIBALS are small, weak, white, and horrible, but where they exist they occur in great numbers, all bundled together like maggots They have small clawed hands and small sharp fangs, and it is by sheer numbers and persistence that they overwhelm the unwary Tourist, whom they will then eat raw They live underground, but not very far underground, often inplaces like deserted farmhouses where travelers will not expect attack though they seem to fear daylight, they will come out at dusk as soon as those in the farmhouse have relaxed Just occasionally they will attack a CAMP or a strayed Tourist in open country They have the look of degenerate humans Possibly they have strayed into Fantasyland via H.G Wells s Time Machine.BAR SERVICEhas not yet been invented Drinks and other orders are traditionally brought to you at your table in the INN by barmaids This is an enlightened arrangement by the Management because it prevents unemployment among young unmarried women and probably also keeps up the birthrate.See also EUNUCHS, MAIDS, and WAR.CHILDREN are not commonly found on a TOUR If a Child appears and seems to wish to take part, be very wary She he is likely to be either a God or the MISSING HEIR to a Kingdom In either case this will make the Child unpredictable and capricious She he will unquestionably involve you in a great deal of trouble.See THIEVES GUILD for the only exception to this RuleDARK LADY There is never one of these so see DARK LORD instead The Management considers that male Dark Ones havepotential to be sinister, and seldom if ever employs a female in this role This is purely because the Management was born too late to meet my Great Aunt Clara. DARK LORDdread lord OMT There is always one of these in the background of every Tour, attempting to ruin everything and take over the world He will be so sinister that he will be seen by you only once or twice, probably near the end of the Tour Generally he will attack you through MINIONS forces of Terror, bound to his will OMT , of which he will have largenumbers When you do get to see him at last, you will not be surprised to find he is black see COLOUR CODING and shadowy and probably not wholly human He will make you feel very cold and small Actually, when it comes down to it, that is probably all he will do, having almost certainly exhausted his other resources earlier on You should be able to defeat him, with a little help from your COMPANIONS, without too much effort However, the Rules state that at this stage you will be exhausted yourself and possibly wounded by MAGIC So be careful.Now for the full encyclopedic guide, you re just going to have to pick up the book and if you re a fantasy lover I hope you will side note Ireland gets a bit of a nod in this one We are rather fantastical you know our current president is, in fact, a leprechaun PANCELTIC TOURSare normally taken separately from the rest of Fantasyland Here the MAP will be of only one COUNTRY, which has a Welsh name, and shows TOWNS called things like Dun Bhlaioinaidbth pronounced Dublin or Glas Uedhaoth pronounced Glasgow and ratherMOUNTAINS The Tour will, however, take place in the usual way, except that PORRIDGE will largely replace STEW and there will be ratherMAGIC But the WEATHER will be a great deal worse When it is not raining, everywhere will be hidden shrouded OMT in MIST If you go on one of these Tours, you will not always find it easy to know either what is going on or what people are talking about The Mist seems to get into everyone s brains. view spoiler I can t say she s not onto something there with the mist hide spoiler PANCELTSare frequently red haired They wear plaids and have NAMES you must consult the glossary in order to pronounce By the Rules pronounced GEAS which govern them, they have to call ELVES Shee pronounced Sidhe and refer to the ENEMY as Shadow Otherwise they are nice people who drink a lot of the water of life pronounced Uisce and love to tell you LEGENDS by firelight They also fight a lot and rather well, since both men and women train hard from the age of ten But there is no such thing as an ordinary PANCELT Each of them is either a MAGIC USER or a BARD or a Druid pronounced like a sneeze , or sometimes all three in which case you pronounce it Merlin They are governed by strong and beautiful QUEENS called things like Maebdh Aeiolaien pronounced Mad Eileen or strong and serious KINGS called, for instance, Daibhaeaidhaibh MacAeraith pronounced Dave Mate , and they appear to worship the Welsh Bard Taliesin It is in this Bard s honour that they all sing so much, eventhan the Shee Elves do And, like the Elves, they are prone to go on about how very much better things were in the Old Days, when a HERO could walk in one day from Caer Dibdh to the sea by taking a shortcut through Tir n an Og pronounced The Many Coloured Land.The spelling pronunciation had me laughing


  3. Fran Fran says:

    I like this book That said, this is not a novel, it s a clever collection of fantastic definitions and how you can best play with them when writing and even reading to have the most fun and punchy results It won t be an interesting read for everybody, but if fantasy books are a pleasure for you, Wynne Jones s Though Guide to Fantasyland can surely will bring some laughs and much needed understanding of some common and not so common topics and cliches in fantastic literature.Wynne Jones sty I like this book That said, this is not a novel, it s a clever collection of fantastic definitions and how you can best play with them when writing and even reading to have the most fun and punchy results It won t be an interesting read for everybody, but if fantasy books are a pleasure for you, Wynne Jones s Though Guide to Fantasyland can surely will bring some laughs and much needed understanding of some common and not so common topics and cliches in fantastic literature.Wynne Jones style, which, if you have read Howl s Moving Castle or Castle in the Sky won t be a new thing for you, shines even when put down in short definitions and matter of fact paragraphs


  4. Kaethe Douglas Kaethe Douglas says:

    Jones was working on a fantasy encyclopedia with some other guys, and they kept making jokes about fantasy tropes One of them said she should write her own encyclopedia So she did And then, after that, she used the idea of other world fantasy tourism as the basis for the two Derkholm books, which amused me no end.So I like the ideas here Food it s always stew, never a steak, never an omelet , and I agree with Gaiman that if one were to write a work of fantasy it d be a good idea to go throu Jones was working on a fantasy encyclopedia with some other guys, and they kept making jokes about fantasy tropes One of them said she should write her own encyclopedia So she did And then, after that, she used the idea of other world fantasy tourism as the basis for the two Derkholm books, which amused me no end.So I like the ideas here Food it s always stew, never a steak, never an omelet , and I agree with Gaiman that if one were to write a work of fantasy it d be a good idea to go through this first, to make sure you re not relying on the stereotypes.But for sheer reading pleasure Well, no, not really Dip into it from time to time, but don t try to read it straight through, that ll bore you rigid.Library copy


  5. Olga Godim Olga Godim says:

    This is hilarious, an absolute must for every fantasy writer The book is a mock A to Z guide of the tropes of fantasy Now and then, I just open it randomly for a dose of laughter, read a few entries starting with different letters, giggle, and close it again, till next time As I writer, I can say that if you write fantasy, you can t avoid at least some of the clich s described in all their ridiculous details in this book It s up to you to use them in an original way, if at all possible Of a This is hilarious, an absolute must for every fantasy writer The book is a mock A to Z guide of the tropes of fantasy Now and then, I just open it randomly for a dose of laughter, read a few entries starting with different letters, giggle, and close it again, till next time As I writer, I can say that if you write fantasy, you can t avoid at least some of the clich s described in all their ridiculous details in this book It s up to you to use them in an original way, if at all possible Of all the fantasy writers I ve read, only Terry Pratchett succeeded at this task.I d love to quote from this book, but it s practically impossible to choose the best quote The entire book is a book of quotes Marvelous and entertaining Read it


  6. Sandi Sandi says:

    I m cheating I m moving this book to my read shelf and giving it a rating even though I haven t finished it I don t think you can finish reading this book anythan you can finish reading a dictionary, an encyclopedia, or a tour guide I can t even tell you how much of this book I have read This is like a mini dictionary of fantasy concepts You ll be reading an entry and it will refer to other entries You ll read those entries and jump to yet other ones The next thing you know, you ve I m cheating I m moving this book to my read shelf and giving it a rating even though I haven t finished it I don t think you can finish reading this book anythan you can finish reading a dictionary, an encyclopedia, or a tour guide I can t even tell you how much of this book I have read This is like a mini dictionary of fantasy concepts You ll be reading an entry and it will refer to other entries You ll read those entries and jump to yet other ones The next thing you know, you ve read this book, but in no orderly fashion The entries are very funny, very true and very insightful


  7. Arielle Walker Arielle Walker says:

    Absolutely hilarious The bit about the pollinating horses is probably my favourite No, I will not spoil it for you You ll have to read it to see what I mean


  8. Pauline Ross Pauline Ross says:

    This is a wonderful, wonderful book It s the perfect antidote to all those terribly solemn tomes full of wizards speaking portentously, hidden heirs to the kingdom, the sort who instantly become amazingly adept with a sword, and tediously earnest quests for magic McGuffins In the guise of a guidebook with a map naturally , it s actually an encyclopedia of fantasy tropes Instead of a proper review, I can t do better than to give some examples Quote ENDLESS QUEST See QUEST, ENDLESS.NUNNERI This is a wonderful, wonderful book It s the perfect antidote to all those terribly solemn tomes full of wizards speaking portentously, hidden heirs to the kingdom, the sort who instantly become amazingly adept with a sword, and tediously earnest quests for magic McGuffins In the guise of a guidebook with a map naturally , it s actually an encyclopedia of fantasy tropes Instead of a proper review, I can t do better than to give some examples Quote ENDLESS QUEST See QUEST, ENDLESS.NUNNERIES The Rule is that any Nunnery you approach, particularly if you are in dire need of rest, healing or provisions, will prove to have been recently sacked You will find the place a smoking ruin, littered with corpses You will be shocked and wonder who could have done this thing Your natural curiosity will shortly be satisfied, because there is a further Rule that there will be one survivor, either a very young novice or a very old nun, who will give you a graphic account of the raping and burning and the names of the perpetrators If old, she will then die, thus saving you from having to take her along and feed her from your dwindling provisions if a novice, she will either die likewise or prove to be not as nunnish as you at first thought, in which case you may be glad to have her along.PRINCESSES come in two main kinds 1 wimps 2 spirited and wilful A spirited Princess will be detectable by the scattering of freckles across the bridge of her somewhat tiptilted nose Spirited Princesses often disguise themselves as boys and invariably marry commoners of sterling worth With surprising frequency these commoners turn out to be long lost heirs to Kingdoms.QUEST, ENDLESS See ENDLESS QUEST Quote Essential reading for all fantasy fans Five stars This reminds me of the very old joke Recursion see Recursion


  9. seak seak says:

    I just got this and I ve only read a couple paragraphs not even a full page mind you and I can t stop laughing And I m talking about what LOL means not what you actually do This is literally an A to Z reference book, or evenspecifically, a dictionary No chapters, unless you count the breaks between letters I ve just gone from one thing that was mentioned at the beginning and read a couple definitions that were semi interrelated as in one definition mentioned a word that I looked u I just got this and I ve only read a couple paragraphs not even a full page mind you and I can t stop laughing And I m talking about what LOL means not what you actually do This is literally an A to Z reference book, or evenspecifically, a dictionary No chapters, unless you count the breaks between letters I ve just gone from one thing that was mentioned at the beginning and read a couple definitions that were semi interrelated as in one definition mentioned a word that I looked up elsewhere Hilarity I can already tell that I love this book.Take this Gnomic Utterances These are traditional, and set at the head of each section of the Guidebook The reason for them is lost in the mist of HISTORY They are culled from the Management from a might selection of wise sayings probably compiled by a Sage probably called Ka a Orto o some centuries before this Tour begins The Rule is that no Utterance has anything whatsoever to do with the section it precedes Nor, of course, has it anything to do with Gnomes.I guess I can t contain my excitement because who seriously starts writing their review after only having read a couple paragraphs Crazy, I tell ya


  10. Pam Baddeley Pam Baddeley says:

    This is a satirical dictionary of the many cliches found in fantasy fiction, principally of the epic quest variety.I made the mistake of reading this right through it probably comes across as muchhumorous if dipped into occasionally As I read it, like any overextended joke, it started to fall a bit flat I enjoyed the author s novel based on this idea of tours in fantasyland The Dark Lord of Derkholm much , to be honest This I rate as a 3 star read good in parts but a bit This is a satirical dictionary of the many cliches found in fantasy fiction, principally of the epic quest variety.I made the mistake of reading this right through it probably comes across as muchhumorous if dipped into occasionally As I read it, like any overextended joke, it started to fall a bit flat I enjoyed the author s novel based on this idea of tours in fantasyland The Dark Lord of Derkholm much , to be honest This I rate as a 3 star read good in parts but a bit too repetitive if trying to read it in one, as I did