_Mining the Oort_ opens well, with one of Pohl's trademark everyman protags -- here, Dekker DeWoe(!), a teenager in Sagdayev deme, an inconsequential Martian settlement -- who's uprooted to take shelter from the first comet crash in a grand long-term effort to terraform Mars!
Dekker's Dad was an Oort miner who washed out -- drink & drugs -- and never came home. His Martian Mom rises quickly (and rather implausibly) from struggling single mom to the Senator from Marsgov. Dekker meets an Earthgirl, his Mom's new suitor, and the boyfriend's obnoxious kid. We learn that all is not well with The Bonds, the Earthies financing of the terraforming project. Then we learn, sigh, that The Bonds will be paid off by (wait for it) shipping Mars farm produce back to Earth! If that's not bad enough, the Mars project is facing new competition from (groan) new farm-satellite habitats! Boy, I thnk I'll buy some of those bonds myself! Easy money!
Good lord. What was Pohl thinking? I mean, he has antimatter spaceships, and beanstalks, but space travel is explicitly difficult and expensive.... Sigh.
Dekker wins a coveted position at the Oort Academy, and his dear old Dad dries out enough to front him the spacefare. Dekker has Interesting Times at the Academy, and on Earth in general -- good enough to gloss over the idiot premise for the novel, for awhile anyway. Dekker makes a new girlfriend, the beautiful, rich, predatory, war-hungry Ven Kupferfeld , who's involved in (gasp!) a Mysterious Plot....
OK, I'll put in some **SPOILER PROTECTION** here, even though the experienced reader will have seen this one comming a hundred pages before (and cringed):
The Martian Rebel Plot is to threaten the Earth with -- quelle horreur -- firing a comet at them! Left uninvestigated is the likelihood that the Oort project would have passed its preliminary EIS (and this is after the Project's 'Farmer in the Sky' premise miserably fails its Giggle Test): "The downside of this project is the possible impact on Earth of a Dinosaur-killer, resulting in millions to billions of human deaths, and probably the end of civilization as we know it. Fortunately, this is no more likely than the ridiculous fantasy that terrorists might fly fully-loaded jetliners into tall buildings..." OK, boys! Go right ahead! 
Sigh. So there you have it: a Pohl novel, written about as well as his best, but with a hopelessly stupid, unsalvageable plot and backstory. Which I guess is why I didn't read it when it first came out.
Caveat lector. It's still a pretty good yarn, if you don't care about plausibilty. I love Pohl, but even Homer nods....
 --and another of Pohl's aggressive Amazons, though Ven's cuter (and perhaps nicer) than the man-eating, thoroughly nasty Colonel Marge in JEM....
 Now, if this were a *Russian future*, this would be a lot more believable -- just slip the EPA-ski a few thousand rubles...
Peter D. Tillman