Every summer, local writing organization Clarion West brings an impressive slate of sci-fi authors to Seattle. The most exciting author this year is Kij Johnson, a multiple-award-winning fantasy and science-fiction author (you don’t win Nebula Awards three years in a row—and score both a Nebula and a Hugo in the same year—by being lucky, motherfucker). Her fiction is interested in gender, the connection between humans and animals, and the inherent impossibility of getting communication exactly right. In other words, she’s a writer who is fascinated by everything that makes life worth living. (University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE, ubookstore.com, 7 pm, free)