SkON is taking place today and tomorrow, Friday and Saturday, Sept 6-7, 2019 and it is the third edition of the SF convention in the town of Sisak, Croatia, making it the second-to-youngest Croatian con. I have never been, and I have no idea how I let slip two years without attending, but have heard so many stories of fun had, that I simply have to go.
Sisak is a town about 60 kilometers from Zagreb, and most know it as the place where Croatian largest oil refinery lives. Googling it now I learned that it is also Croatia’s biggest river port, a centre or the river shipping industry in the country and the administrative centre of the Sisak Moslavina County. In my defence, I grew up and went to school in a different country, where the counties as they are today did not exist.
Where I do feel a bit ashamed is the fact that I know I have been to Sisak, but have no memory of the town. For me, it has always been a town from a story, for the most part. In Yugoslavia, the country I grew up in, there was a huge imprint of books for kids, called Biblioteka Vjeverica (Squirrel Editions). I read most of them, and I also owned a good many, as I was the only child in my generation in my family with a love of reading, so I inherited a lot of them.
One of these was Grički top by Dubravko Horvatić in which the author wrote down local Croatian legends. I had read it as a child and found myself having to re-read last year as my kid was in third grade and it was part of his required reading. My kid like a particular story from it and we already visited the place from it in Istria in spring. Sisak is the place the Turkish lord from the story had reached and got stuck in, advancing no further with his invasion way back when in the 16th century, when they were going for Zagreb and occupied Sisak thrice, only to ultimately fail.
Thus, Sisak is the place where the titular story – “Grički top” – takes place, even though it is the origin story of the cannon fired daily at noon in Zagreb from the Grič Lotršćak Tower. (Grički top has THE BEST Twitter account!) So, the kid and I are continuing the exploration of his required reading combined with attending Croatian SF conventions. In April, we visited Istrakon as part of the trip and had a grand time. Cannot wait to see how SkON will turn out!
**Cover photo by Miroslav Šilović