Four book reviews in the January 2003 issue of Notes and Records. Henry Harris, Things come to life: spontaneous generation revisited,. John Ziman, Real science: what it is, and what it means. Richard Yeo, Encyclopaedic visions. Scientific dictionaries and Enlightenment culture. Eric G. Forbes, Lesley Murdin and Frances Willmoth, The correspondence of John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal, volume 3 (1703-1719).