Skip to main content

A Pocketful of Dharma

* Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate and sponsored links. Learn more on my Disclosure page.

Pocketful of Dharma is a 1999 novelette written by Paolo Bacigalupi, about a young boy that comes to possess a very valuable piece of technology.


Wang Jun is a young boy that lives in a very futuristic world, a world where buildings are made out of organic materials. But even in the future, there are thugs. Wang Jun gets mixed up with some undesirable people who give him a datacube to deliver, and threaten him with his life if he does not follow through. This datacube seems to be a high tech, futuristic version of a flash drive, and when Wang Jun discovers what is on the datacube he realizes just how valuable it is. That’s about the time he decides he will keep it for himself.


Paolo Bacigalupi is a very gifted writer in the imagery department. I felt like I was watching this story rather than reading it. In fact, I kind of felt like I was watching Bladerunner! Set in China, under the constant drizzle of rain, with vivid descriptions of old town and vast skyscrapers, I thought the surroundings in the story were as entertaining as the plot. Wang Jun was a fun young character that did everything he shouldn’t do, got into all sorts of trouble because of it, and still got away with it! My only gripe about A Pocketful of Dharma is that I wanted a little more closure. Overall an unusual and vivid read.


  • Word Count: 9,464
  • Page Count: 24
  • Published: Pocketful of Dharma was originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, February 1999.
  • About the Author: Paolo Bacigalupi is a Hugo and Nebula Award winner, and a National Book Award finalist. Read more about this talented author at his website.



If you enjoyed Pocketful of Dharma you will probably also like The Fluted Girl, also by Paolo Bacigalupi.