“Who Wants to Live Forever” by Queen was a constant presence in my mind while working on this issue. The song is featured in the 1986 movie Highlander, the story of a secret race of immortal warriors who live among us on Earth. Immortality is a staple of a lot of science fiction and fantasy, but the quest to live forever is also a dominant motif in history.
Immortality factors heavily in this issue’s cover story on the mummies of ancient Egypt, which details the extreme lengths to which people have gone to overcome death. For thousands of years, Egyptians practiced complex mummification rites and rituals to ensure that their bodies and souls would live on in the afterlife.
While measuring their spiritual success is challenging, it is certain that these traditions have granted a kind of immortality to ancient Egyptians from all walks of life: young and old, noble and common, women and men. Their carefully preserved mummies have inspired curiosity, conversation, and exploration for millennia as they continue to reveal cultural, economic, and medical insights into how their lives were lived all those years ago. Rather than fading away and being forgotten, they are living forever.