In the postwar fiction of J. G. Ballard, Kurt Vonnegut, and Philip K. Dick, the novel becomes obsessed with visualizing the new, and newly elusive, machines of the post-Second World War order. In Crash, the planetary threat of the atom bomb is expressed through older machines as the characters, stuck in gridlock on the London motorways, envision a coming “autogeddon”; in Breakfast of Champions, the nuclear menace is both succeeded and reproduced by the world-destroying force of plastics; and in Ubik, atomic power makes its universal but mysterious threat felt as a “ubiquitous” synthetic with the capacity to determine life itself: “I am Ubik. . . . I made the suns. I made the worlds.” In these novels, postmodernist fiction draws attention to the fact that reality in the postwar period has itself become synthetic—an artificial construction made and dominated by machines of dreadful power. To disclose this new order of things, however, is not to undo it, and though Ballard and Vonnegut still seek to disrupt the artificial realities they represent, Dick pushes their shared vision to its darkest conclusion: relentlessly exposing the world it depicts as a machine-made fabrication, Ubik submits itself and its characters to a nightmare from which it can never awake.