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"I started writing in the 1930's when I was eighteen years old. And deep inside me I'm still eighteen and it's still 1938."
- Isaac Asimov

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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