Staying Out of Hell, by James Alexander Thom (Ballantine, $3.95). The saga of Scotty Montgomery who grows up in the Midwest, joins the Marines, becomes a journalist, rages at man's inhumanity and wonders about his country's role as the West's policeman. By the author of From Sea to Shining Sea.

Lives of the Poets: Six Stories and a Novella, by E.L. Doctorow (Avon, $3.95). Jonathan, having walked out on his wife in the suburbs, is sitting in his Greenwich Village apartment trying to write. "After a while you know you just don't look up in New York when you hear the sirens. There was just a full-complement arrest right out the window nine stories down on Houston, three cop cars, couple of blue-and- white motor scooters, a dozen cops . . . and one slender man, hands cuffed behind his back, being shove into an unmarked car with a turning red light on the roof. And sitting with the last paragraph, I missed the whole thing." The linked stories in this collection present Doctorow as aging male poet of city life. NONFICTION

Ingrid Bergman and Gary Cooper, edited by John Kobal (Little, Brown, $14.95 each). One of Hollywood's most beautiful women, and one of its most handsome men are the subjects of these two books. Both are composed of striking black-and-white portraits and studio stills which take us from their youths to middle-age. Cooper was stunning as a young actor. It's interesting to see his looks deepen, and sadden, with age. Bergman as a young woman had an almost scrubbed purity about her. As a middle-aged woman her beauty becomes more complex, more interesting. Both books have intelligent introductions: Sheridan Morley's to Bergman, Richard Schickel's to Cooper.

The Corporate Steeplechase: Predictable Crises in a Business Career, by Srully Blotnick (Penguin, $7.95). This study of business careers is readable and revealing. It also contains some good advice. Although much of it may seem self-evident ("Look before you leap," is a central message), frustrated corporate types often need a good dose of common sense. Blotnick has dredged up some fascinating case studies from a variety of business environments.

American Place-Names: A Concise and Selective Dictionary for the Continental United States of America, by George R. Stewart (Oxford University Press, $9.95). Pickton, Texas, got its name from two literal-minded chaps: assigned to "pick" a name for the "town," they didn't stray from their instructions. Keats, Kansas, owes its name to the fondness of local railroad men for the poetry of John. Grapit, California, is a corruption of "gravel pit" -- one was near the town site. Though Bethesda is a much-favored name for hospitals -- not to mention the cities in Maryland and Ohio -- it is mentioned only once in the Bible. Side-by-side with an atlas, American Place- Names can keep a body enrapt for hours on end.

Cry of the Kalihari, by Mark and Delia Owens (Houghton Mifflin, $7.95). This is the story of an American husband and wife, biologists both, who went off on a seven-year, self-appointed mission to the Kalihari Desert of Botswana, Africa. Each of them has contributed various chapters describing the dangers they encountered, the lions they came to know almost as friends, the effect they had on the Botswana government's conservation policies. One of the highlights is the account of a battle -- two lions gang up on a third from outside the family. He is mauled, as the Owenses watch, to a bloody Darwinian death.

In Her Own Right: The Life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, by Elisabeth Griffith (Oxford University Press, $7.95). Radical feminist and suffragist of the 19th century, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was also the wife of an active abolitionist and reformer and the mother of seven children. She was in many ways a woman before her time -- too militant for many of the suffragists, who feared she would spoil their cause. Spurned during her life by those whose cause she championed, she was ignored after her death. Elisabeth Griffith, a Washington historian, does much to reinstate her as one of this country's most important figures in the fight for equal rights. FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION

The Man Who Melted, by Jack Dann (Bantam/Spectra, $3.50). In this apocalyptic vision of the future -- a blend of Bergman's The Seventh Seal and dystopic utopia -- a man searches through a decadent future for the woman he has lost to a religious cult, one which uses mass telepathy to call its followers to hysterical violence.

Master of Space and Time, by Rudy Rucker (Baen Books, $2.95). Rucker -- respected mathematician, dadaist fictioneer, and all-round comic madman -- calls on all his skills in this novel about two laid-back scientists who discover the nature of reality and, just as important, how to control it. Wild Buckaroo Banzai-like adventures ensue.

In Yana: The Touch of Undying, by Michael Shea (DAW, $3.50). When there's nothing new under the sun, then parody the old. Michael Shea has thus far guyed the novels of Jack Vance (Nifft the Lean), H.P. Lovecraft (The Colour Out of Time), and now takes on the gothic. Bramt Hex, a student of ancient learning, finds himself caught up in a world of demons, vampires, and other familiar hobgoblins, as he searches for the secret of immortality. Shea's affection for this hugger-mugger, and his ear for all its menacing style, makes for a delightful divertissement.