Sur son blog Mike Resnick répond une bonne fois pour toute à la question : "Mais où allez-vous chercher vos idées ?"
Il passe en revue ses idées à l'origine de plusieurs romans. C'est ici
Par exemple :
In 1984, in a security vault deep beneath the British Museum of Natural History, I was permitted to inspect the record tusks of the greatest mammal ever to walk the Earth, an animal known only as the Kilimanjaro Elephant.
Everything about this animal, from his life to his death, is shrouded in mystery and legend. His ivory was almost twenty percent heavier than the second-largest recorded set of tusks; he was a monster even among his own kind. No white man ever saw him. If any black man saw him during his lifetime, the fact is not recorded. Historians think, but do not know, that he died in 1898; they think, but do not know, that he died on the southeastern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro; they think, but do not know, that he was killed by a runaway slave. And that is the sum total of their knowledge of this awesome creature.
The moment I first read about the ivory in the early 1980s I knew there was a story to be told -- many stories, in fact; as many stories as there were people whose lives had been touched by the pursuit of the ivory. I became obsessed by it, and finally outlined a mainstream novel.
Then my agent, Eleanor Wood, always more level-headed than I, reminded me who and where my audience was, and suggested that I follow the tusks not just until they were locked away by the museum in 1937, but out into space over the next few millennia.
So I did. And got a Nebula nomination here and a Clarke nomination in England.
I knew after I'd been to Kenya and had previous read a ton of books about it that I wanted to write a novel about its history -- which in my case meant an allegorical science fiction novel. But the history I wanted to cover took place from about 1890 to the present, and the obvious choice was a "generations" book. I hate obvious choices, and besides, the early history was all made by whites and the more recent history was all made by blacks, and since whites and blacks don't intermarry in Kenya, I couldn't tell a generations novel even if I wanted to.
So I put off writing it. Then, on my next trip to Kenya, a 20-year-old white Kenyan girl that Carol and I were dining with offered the opinion that Kenya, pleasant as it was, was probably a much nicer place to visit just before her birth, when Britain still controlled it and government services were much more efficient and the poverty was, if not less widespread, at least less visible.
Perry Mason, our 52-year-old private guide, who was also at the table, said that no, she was mistaken. He had been in Kenya since 1952, having come there to fight the Mau Mau and stayed on to become a white hunter and then a safari guide, and in his opinion Kenya was probably at its best in the 1940s, the so-called Golden Age of East African hunting, before all the racial conflict began.
The next night, while visiting with Ian Hardy, an 80-year-old retired hunter who lived up in the Aberdares Mountains, the subject came up again. He had arrived in 1935, and thought Kenya must have been just about perfect a decade earlier, before the great herds were decimated and the farmers began fencing off the land and the hired help started getting notions of independence and equality.
But Karen Blixen had left Kenya in 1931, mourning the passing of her beloved country, which she felt must have been pristine and beautiful just before she arrived in 1912.
And, of course, F. C. Selous, Teddy Roosevelt's white hunter, left Kenya in 1910 because they had already ruined a once-perfect country.
Later in the trip, I spoke to a couple of black Africans, one a student and one a minor political office-holder. Both were sure that Kenya, although it certainly had its problems, was well on the road to becoming a Utopia
And finally I had my fictional structure -- the vision of a receding or forthcoming Golden Age that in truth never was and never will be.