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"Science fiction writers, I am sorry to say, really do not know anything. We can't talk about science, because our knowledge of it is limited and unofficial, and usually our fiction is dreadful."
- Philip K. Dick

Celestial Armamentarium  
  A small crystal planetarium, in which the stars and planets surrounding Aerlith are seen.  

The humans on Aerlith have little technology, having been stranded there and cut off from whatever remains of human civilization in the galaxy. Some artifacts remain, however; is it a crystal ball or a planetarium?

"I examined this globe, and indeed it seemed to hold all of space; within it floated stars and planets, all the bodies of the cluster.

"Look well," said Joaz Banbeck, "you will neer see the like of this anywhere. It was built by the olden men and brought to Aerlith when our people first arrived..."

"It is a celestial armamentarium," said Joaz. "It depicts all the nearby stars, and their positions at any time I choose to specify."

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

Using this device, Joaz Banbeck (the novel's protagonist) is able to predict that the Basics, a race of aliens with superior technology, might soon be paying them a visit.

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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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