The nightmare of postmodern technology continues in the novels of Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo—paranoid fictions in which the characters, unable to locate the technological sources of their dread, can only intuit the deadly realities the narratives labor to disclose. In The Crying of Lot 49, a digital threat is added to the atomic one in the era of the computer-guided missile, and Oedipa Maas envisions the solution to the mystery of postwar American life as, significantly, a binary code. Unfortunately, unable to recognize the real source of her anxiety, Oedipa is misled by her vision into the pursuit of a covert postal network, and thus fails to detect the secret communications system that actually does organize the postwar order: the digital computer and the nuclear ballistics it controls. In this novel and the subsequent Gravity’s Rainbow, Pynchon engineers a plot for the exposure of a technological threat—but a threat that, given its planetary magnitude, he can do nothing to dismantle. Three decades later, DeLillo can do no more. In Underworld, the Cold War is over, but the nuclear menace has only moved further underground, silently ordering a world increasingly unable to understand the principles of its own construction. Thus, the novel seeks to reduce what it can never undo: reconstructing the system responsible for the unintelligibility of modern life, it aims to moderate the alienating force of technologies that can neither be broken nor unmade.