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"Tokyo homeless people reiterate the whole nature of living in Tokyo in cardboard boxes, they're only slightly smaller than Tokyo apartments, and they have almost as many consumer goods. It's a nightmare of boxes within boxes."
- William Gibson

Rhennius Machine  
  Device of alien manufacture, which will reverse, or turn inside out, any object passed through its mobilator.  

The Rhennius Machine was obtained in a sort of cultural exchange system. Once the Earth was admitted to a loose collection of planetary civilizations, the Earth participated in a system that improved cultural ties by exchanging artifacts of value in a sort of traveling exhibit. Since these items might be from civilizations that were vastly different, the purpose of the artifacts were typically unclear.

Beside/below me, where I dangled but a couple of feet above the floor, hummed the Rhennius machine: three jet-black housings set in a line on a circular platform that rotated slowly in a counterclockwise direction, the end units each extruding a shaft - one vertical, one horizontal- about which passed what appeared to be a Moebius strip of belt almost a meter in width.
From Doorways in the Sand, by Roger Zelazny.
Published by Harper Science Fiction in 1976
Additional resources -

The Rhennius Machine turns out to have a very necessary effect; it is a great plot device. One of the effects of the Rhennius Machine is that it can reverse (replace with a mirror image) every molecule in any object passed through it's mobilator. Including people. People with an interest in organic chemistry will have a lot of fun with the extensive material on what it's like to be reversed from a first person point of view.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Doorways in the Sand
  More Ideas and Technology by Roger Zelazny
  Tech news articles related to Doorways in the Sand
  Tech news articles related to works by Roger Zelazny

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