This is bound to be one of my more controversial inclusions, so I'll warn you right away that Eddings is not well thought of amongst the more literate groups of fantasy fans. Nevertheless, his stuff is just outright fun. His characters are amusing, his plots interesting (if, admittedly, rather conventional), and his writing competent. This ain't Literature-with-a-capital-L, but it's enjoyable mind candy. One caveat: Eddings has a propensity for writing the same story over and over. Thus, The Mallorean differs in no significant way from The Belgariad. His other series are also very similar. If you don't like re-reading books -- or if you just think these books aren't worth re-reading -- don't bother with the sequels.
Distress has everything I look for in hard SF: a convincing setting, in a near-future world transformed by omnipresent biotech and global networks; hard-edged speculation in physics, biotech, and information theory; and even a few Big Ideas in its examination of what it means to be human. This is one of those books that, when finished, keeps echoing in your skull for weeks.
The cover of this short-story collection proclaims it to be "science fiction for people who like science fiction!" While this claim seems a bit redundant -- what publisher is putting out science fiction for people who don't like science fiction? -- it's not a bad description of the book. Every one of the stories in Axiomatic is based on some nifty scientific idea; unlike the hard SF writers of old, though, Egan is equally at home writing about the nature of humanity as implausible physics. Fans of hard SF can be assured that this is the real thing.
Had Diaspora been by anyone other than Egan, I would have been delighted by it. As it was, I found it somewhat disappointing. It still had Egan's inventiveness and idea density, sure, but it was a more awkward work than Distress. Part of this is due to the fact that Egan dumps large lumps of expository text into the book; at times, I felt that I was reading a thinly-disguised non-fiction book. In addition, the book is more episodic than coherent: I felt like I was reading a collection of short stories than a novel. Still, it's got a lot of fascinating ideas in it, and some parts ("Orphanogenesis," in particular) are excellent. It's worth reading, but not up to the astonishingly high standards set by Egan's earlier works.