Amongst science fiction fandom, the word refers to a useless, unwanted gift.
Ancient Eastern languages professor Jonathan Jones finds a cursed amulet. Jones obtains powers to cause pain or slow movement, and even kill. He immediately suffers the consequences of his discovery: Jones realizes that when he points at another living creature, it causes a great pain. This prevents any intimate encounters with a woman. It is a metaphor of the age of nuclear weapons (the novel was written 2 years after atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki).