Every Matt Ruff novel is different from every other Matt Ruff novel. That’s a great thing, because it keeps the local author’s work fresh and surprising: He’s written a Philip K. Dick–ish spy thriller, a romance with multiple personality disorder, and a sci-fi rebuttal to Atlas Shrugged, among others. This is the launch party for his new alternate-universe thriller The Mirage—about the United Arab States declaring a war on terror against the Christian fundamentalists who destroyed the Tigris & Euphrates World Trade Towers—with a Q&A session hosted by, um, me. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave, www.elliottbaybook.com, 7 pm, free)