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"Science fiction operates a little bit like science itself, in principle. You've got thousands of people exploring ideas, putting forth their own hypotheses. Most of them are dead wrong; a few stand the test of time; everything looks kind of quaint in hind"
- Peter Watts

Luminescent Vial  
  A glass tube full of luminescent algae; used to provide some measure of light underground.  

The sacerdotes of Aerlith live apart from the Utter men of the surface. Joaz Banbeck journeys deep into their caves to learn their secrets.

On hands and knees he peered into the tunnel, and since it was dark, held forward a glass vial of luminescent algae. In the faint light the tunnel seemed empty...

After perhaps a undred yards the tunnel broke out into a natural cavern.. Luminescent vials fixed to the walls at irregular intervals provided a measure of light, enough to delineate the direction of the cavern...

Joaz came upon sacerdotes, the first asleep on a reed rug; the second sitting cross-legged, gazing fixedly at a contrivance of twisted metal rods.

From The Dragon Masters, by Jack Vance.
Published by Galaxy in 1962
Additional resources -

For another fine example of tasteful underground lighting, see the glowglobe from Frank Herbert's Dune.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Dragon Masters
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Vance
  Tech news articles related to The Dragon Masters
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Vance

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